MY PATIENTS ARE LIKE BABOONS — And That’s A Compliment ! — It Pays To Be Nice

No this is not the beginning of a weak joke.

There is something interesting at play here–being "nice" does pay off– for patients and baboons.

Coincidence or not I became aware of two separate articles which deal with the issues of being nice. The New York Times on July 14 published an article by James Gorman entitled Baboon Study Shows Benefits for Nice Guys, Who Finish 2nd.

It studied the stress levels of alpha males, long regarded as the most powerful, "successful" members of the tribe with the best potential for mating and passing along their genes.

The beta is secondary, the "nice guy" who sits betwween the highest and lowest ranking males.

Whereas the alpha males had to fight off challengers and expend energy defending fertile females, the beta males got what they needed without as much stress.

Since chronic stress is known to have adverse health effects including diminished longevity, so just perhaps the nice beta boys can be around to mate for a longer period of time.

And just perhaps some of the lady baboons are attracted to the sensitive types as well.

Another article from JAMA July 6, 2011–Vol 306, No 1 by Detsky and Baerlocher ask whether nice patients receive better care?

Their conclusion, in this short review article is "yes".

Personally, I have always been repulsed by people who seem to erroneously believe that by being aggressive and demanding that they obtain more from others than not.

Physicians react just like any other human beings. And whether we are aware of it or not, respond better to patients who are pleasant, compliant and grateful.

It is, after all, human nature.

And perhaps pre-human as well.

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