Many of America’s doctors and medical professionals do a great job of keeping patients healthy and informed. But as a recent study in Health Affairs shows, 11 percent of doctor respondents admitted they had told a patient or child’s guardian something untrue. Not giving patients a true diagnosis, not fully informing them about benefits or risks of treatment, or disclosing mistakes can have a great effect on patient care.
Dr. Lisa Iezzoni, the author of the study and a Harvard medicine professor, said the study shows that some physicians are not “…focused first and foremost on the needs of patients.” Spinning the facts to a patient, whether you downplay or overexaggerate the facts, can cause a patient harm in the months and years to come. In a profession that has standards for ethics, honesty, and open communication, these doctors must be accountable for their actions.
The study also showed how roughly 35 percent of doctors did not inform their patients about financial relationships with pharmaceutical companies. Next year a national disclosure law will go into effect that will change this behavior. Companies will have to report payments of more than $10 to doctors as a part of the Physician Payment Sunshine Act. Doctors should be prescribing medication, devices, and procedures that truly will help the patient, not simply further big pharma’s profits or the doctor’s compensation.
“Some physicians might not tell patients the full truth, to avoid upsetting them or causing them to lose hope,” the study showed.
Iezzoni recommended that while delivering bad news or not so attractive options can be difficult for those in the medical field, it is a conversation that must happen for patients to have greater health and longevity. Perhaps the conversation with a patient can include how a patient wants to be told information.
Departing from accepted medical standards can have severe consequences for a patient and their loved one. When serious injuries or a wrongful death occur, the doctor or medical professional can be liable for lying, stretching the truth, or omitting critical information. Unfortunately, this can happen in any medical setting – doctors, surgeons, dentists, nursing homes, outpatient centers – and change the course of someone’s life.
If you have a feeling something suspicious is going on with your medical care, you have a right to request your medical records and contact a medical malpractice attorney to see if you are not being given the standard of care that you deserve. Especially if you are suffering from extensive injuries because of a doctor’s negligence or carelessness, you need to get prompt legal help to find out what happened.
Alexandra Reed writes for Connecticut personal injury law firm, Stratton Faxon. Contact Stratton Faxon to speak with a Connecticut accident lawyer about your personal injury, wrongful death, or Connecticut malpractice case. To learn more, visit Strattonfaxon.