According to a survey of approximately 2,000 doctors in the United States by Health Affairs, patients may not be getting the whole truth when they deal with their physicians. The survey found that, for various reasons, doctors may lie to their patients about their prognoses, the severity of their conditions and about other, more disturbing issues. Doctors have a duty to provide their patients with competent care under the law but, according to this survey, providing that care sometimes involves stretching the truth or lies of omission.
Just the Facts
According to a press release regarding the survey, approximately 55 percent of the doctors surveyed said that they’d told patients that the patient’s health was better than was actually the case. The survey also found that doctors sometimes took the opposite route and lied about the dangers of bad habits to get patients to stop their behavior. Using fear to scare patients out of unhealthy behaviors may or may not be justified, but it’s certainly not honest.
Doctors generally justified their lies by saying that they were good for the patient in some regard. Patients, of course, are not given all of the information they need when their doctors lie to them and, therefore, are divorced from the opportunity to make intelligent decisions about their health.
Even More Disturbing
Pharmaceutical companies sometimes have relationships with doctors that are financially or otherwise beneficial to both parties. Out of the physicians surveyed, nearly 40 percent of the said that there is no need for them to tell patients if they have a vested interested in any of the pharmaceuticals they recommend. Of course, patients may be more hesitant to begin a round of treatment with a particular pharmaceutical if they knew that the doctor had a financial interest in prescribing it or, at least, they might be more suspicious of the motives involved.
Malpractice and Patient Rights
When you visit a doctor, you have the right to expect that the doctor is going to be honest about your conditions with you. In fact, making sure that you stay healthy oftentimes depends upon the doctor being honest with you so that you can make intelligent decisions about your body and your habits. If you’re not given the chance to get real information about your health, you have the opportunity to work toward better health on your own taken from you and, as the study suggests, are sometimes manipulated into taking actions that the doctor feels are best for you.
Being recommended a pharmaceutical because the doctor has a financial interest involved is particularly rife with ethical questions.
If you believe that you have come to harm because a doctor was dishonest with you about your care, consider contacting a medical malpractice attorney. There are limitations on how long you have to act, so taking with a personal injury attorney right away is the best way to determine how you should proceed and how long you have left to decide what you want to do with your case.
Houston Personal Injury lawyer offers FREE Case reviews for medical malpractice claims