Anger Management Goes to the Doctor

An anger management pioneer tries to defuse rageaholic physicians
Photograph by Jeremy Liebman for Bloomberg Businessweek

In an operating room at a large regional hospital, George Anderson opted to sit on a low metal stool. He had no interest in the patient undergoing open-heart surgery. Instead, he positioned himself to have a good angle on the surgeon’s face. Asked by the hospital to help the cardiac specialist curb his explosive tantrums, Anderson, an anger management expert, watched carefully for signs of irritation. For a while, the surgeon worked steadily, but then, just as he sewed a valve into the patient’s heart, his phone buzzed. He took the call. Not a friendly one, evidently. He cursed and screamed into his hands-free headset for about a minute before abruptly hanging up. No one uttered a word. “Everyone in the room was stunned,” says Anderson, 73, in his soothing Mississippi accent.

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