HealthLawProf Blog

Editor: Katharine Van Tassel
Concordia University School of Law

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Now who's lying?

One of Dr. Greg House's consistent observations is that patients lie to their doctors (e.g., "I don't ask why patients lie, I just assume they all do"). Now, Health Affairs has an interesting piece by Iezzoni and colleagues, here, that casts considerable doubt on physician commitment to open and honest communications with patients. The summary of the published survey findings includes the following:

Overall, approximately one-third of physicians did not completely agree with the need to disclose serious medical errors to patients, almost one-fifth did not completely agree that physicians should never tell a patient something untrue, and nearly two-fifths of physicians did not completely agree that they should disclose their financial relationships with drug and device companies to patients.

Perhaps more important, one-fifth of physicians reported not fully disclosing medical mistakes to patients because of fears of lawsuits, and just over one-tenth said that they had told patients something untrue in the previous year.


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