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  • Gregg M. Yamada, MD FACC

"Please Take Responsibility For The Energy You Bring Into This Space"

Updated: Jun 29, 2023

October 23, 2021

Visitors to the Indiana University Health system are now greeted by a sign that reads:

“Please take responsibility for the energy you bring to this space. Your words matter, your behaviours matter. Our patients and teams matter. Take a slow, deep breath and make sure your energy is in check before entering. Thank you.” -- Indiana University Health

It's hard to imagine that this signage greets all patients entering Indiana University Healthcare Facilities—the largest healthcare provider in the state of Indiana.

If you think about it, it's rather insulting. Basically, the hospital is warning patients and their family to 'behave like an adult' or they won't be allowed in.

In this article, I will share some background into what prompted these and other patient disciplinary actions.

This sign greets all patients entering Indiana Health Care facilities

TIME Magazine

On October 23, 2021 Apple News headlined an article in TIME magazine by Belinda Ruscombe entitled ‘Why Everyone Is So Rude Now’.

Ms. Ruscombe cited several instances in the healthcare environment including

  • The Cleveland Clinic uses what it calls behavioral contracts when patients’ behavior is continually difficult. The clinic issued nine such contracts in 2017; so far this year, it’s issued 183 and counting.

Harvard Business Review

Christine Porath and Adrienne Boissy (May 14, 2021) in The Harvard Business Review cited their research in their article entitled ‘Frustrated Patients Are Making Health Care Workers’ Jobs Even Harder’

Authors Porath and Boissy Found:

  • 93% of health care workers were experiencing stress, 86% experiencing anxiety, 77% frustration, 76% exhaustion and burnout, and 75% felt they were overwhelmed.

  • The authors recommended health care systems do more to protect doctors and nurses from incivility and bad behavior of patients.

  • Patients, their families, and caregivers have little patience or tolerance, and their short fuses can explode on the very people trying to care for them.

  • The Cleveland Clinic saw the frequency of threatening and violent behavior increase, and the complaint rate jumped from 1.19 to 2.63 complaints per 1,000 patients.

Their research has shown:

  • Physicians exposed to rudeness can lead to medical errors and reduces procedural skills.

  • Portah and Boissy also cited the Cleveland Clinic’s use of behavioral contracts. Patients who behave badly are made to sign a formal contract ‘about expected language and behavior and outlines the associated consequences’.

Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey in recounting her most memorable lessons from her television show wrote: (excerpted from

"One of the best examples of this was Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor who was on the show talking about the book My Stroke of Insight... a 37-year-old, Harvard-educated brain scientist who suffered a massive stroke in the left part of her brain. She couldn’t speak or remember her own mother, but when doctors and nurses walked into her room, she knew from the right brain who was on her side. She could feel their energy.

Dr. Taylor sent me a sign that I have hanging in my makeup room. It says, 'Please take responsibility for the energy you bring into this space.' And I ask the same thing in my home and at my companies. All life is energy and we are transmitting it at every moment. We are all little beaming little signals like radio frequencies, and the world is responding in kind."

My Recommendations

  • Remember that your doctors and nurses and all of your health care providers are on your side. They are trying to help you get better.

  • Avoid playing into the 'negative mindset' that pervades our society. It's too easy to be upset and angry these days.

  • Try to laugh and smile at life's little frustrations.

  • Be a force of positive energy, not negative.

  • Avoid people--family, friends and co-workers--who are 'Debby Downers'

Let's all work together to keep you safe and healthy

Please be well.

Gregg M. Yamada MD FACC


Disclaimer: I hope you find my medical blogs to be pertinent, interesting, thought provoking, and even humorous at times. The information provided is educational and should not be taken as medical advice. I am a doctor, but I am not your doctor. Please schedule an appointment with your doctor to discuss these issues and to determine what is right for you.

© 2021. Gregg M. Yamada, MD FACC. All rights reserved.



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