Physician Fibs: a New Study Looks at the Lies Doctors Tell Patients
Posted on Feb 23, 2012
Surprising facts about doctors’ truthfulness with patients were recently published in a new study. The study, published in the February 8, 2012 journal Health Affairs, found commonalities in which doctors lie and what lies they tell that are important for patients to understand.
The Lies Doctors Tell
Researchers asked more than 1,800 doctors to answer a series of questions about their behavior over the past year. Those questions included:
- How often have you told an adult patient or child’s guardian something that was untrue? 11% answered that they had told a patient or guardian a lie rarely, sometimes or often.
- How often have you described a patient’s prognosis in a more positive manner than warranted? 55.2% responded that they had done this rarely, sometimes or often.
- How often have you not fully disclosed a mistake to a patient because of a fear of being sued? 19.9% responded that they had done this rarely, sometimes, or often.
- How often have you revealed health information about a patient to an unauthorized person? 28.4% answered that they had done this rarely, sometimes, or often.
Which Doctors Are More Likely to Lie
While any physician can lie, the study found that:
- Male doctors are more likely to lie than female physicians.
- Doctors educated at medical schools outside of the United States and Canada are more likely to lie than those educated in the U.S. and Canada.
- General surgeons and pediatricians were most likely to agree with the need to disclose all serious medical errors, while cardiologists and psychiatrists were least likely to agree with that need.
Our Atlanta medical malpractice lawyers understand that patients rely on the information provided by their doctors and wish anyone hurt by a physician’s untruth a fast and full recovery.