This New York Times article suggests that doctor arrogance is a significant cause of medical error. I certainly wouldn't be shocked if this were true. Still, given the thinness of the data, I have to wonder:
A survey of health care workers at 102 nonprofit hospitals from 2004 to 2007 found that 67 percent of respondents said they thought there was a link between disruptive behavior and medical mistakes, and 18 percent said they knew of a mistake that occurred because of an obnoxious doctor. (The author was Dr. Alan Rosenstein, medical director for the West Coast region of VHA Inc., an alliance of nonprofit hospitals.)
The observation that some people are jerks, and that jerkiness does not enhance performance, is not exactly surprising. What I want to know is whether disruptive doctors actually account for a notable percentage of medical errors. I'm sure if you surveyed doctors, 20% or so could report an error caused by a lazy LPN, incompetent PA, or pigheaded nurse. But I'm skeptical that "nurse pigheadedness" is actually a major problem that America's healthcare system needs to address.