Has your doctor ever lied to you? Actually, let’s change that: have you ever caught your doctor lying to you?
I remember the first big lie I found: I was reading my medical record, and I discovered that a surgery had found something that my doctor hadn’t mentioned to me or to my parents (I was a minor then.) I had left that doctor a few years earlier and I immediately picked up the phone and reached him at his office. He said that I was remembering wrong, that he had told us everything, and he hung up. I never did like him.
Then there was a different, stranger lie. After years of digestive problems, I asked my doctor to test me for lactose intolerance. He said there was no test for it. Huh? Of course there was a test! He didn’t say that he didn’t like the test, or he didn’t believe it was accurate… he said no test existed! Why would he lie about something like that?
I’ve been thinking about these things since this article appeared in the paper a couple weeks ago. Some of the things doctors lie about are ties to drug companies and such. That bothers me; if I asked a doctor outright about a connection to a pharmaceutical company, I expect to get a truthful answer.
But what I think is one of the most disturbing parts of this article is this line:
“…nearly 90 percent of doctors reported that patients should be fully informed about the benefits and risks of a procedure or drug.”
This is horrifying! Only 90%! But then, look at the part before that line:
“Barry added that he was “gratified” to see that nearly 90 percent of doctors reported that patients should be fully informed about the benefits and risks of a procedure or drug.”
Someone thinks that 90% is good! In some cases 90% is great – like getting 90% right on a high school math test, or cleaning 90% of your house on a Saturday afternoon. But when it comes to informing patients about drugs and procedures, nothing less than 100% should be acceptable! And note that they aren’t saying 90% informed their patients. That would be bad enough. No, they reported that 90% think that “…patients should be fully informed…” [Note: that’s my bolding] Are you kidding?!? There are 10% of doctors who don’t think patients should know all of the potential benefits and risks they are taking on with a particular drug or procedure? Do they really think they should be making these decisions for their patients? It is their job to suggest and advise, not to make the ultimate decisions!
We all have our own ways of choosing our medical team. Personally, I go with gut feelings a lot, and trust is a big part of that. If I don’t think I can trust someone, they’re out. My health is simply too important to rely on someone I don’t trust for medical advice. I feel good about most of my doctors. I feel comfortable with them, and I do believe that they are being forthright and honest with me. Nothing builds my trust as much as when one of them says that they just don’t know what the answer is, but they will give me all of the information and help me figure things out. I would much rather hear “I don’t know” than hear a lie.
We must demand 100% honesty from our doctors. We deserve it. And they need to know it.
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