Honesty with Patients Is Optional with Some Doctors

A large survey of doctors published in the prestigious journal Health Affairs finds that while physicians generally subscribe to the idea that honesty is the best policy, they don't always practice honesty with patients, especially when it conflicts with their self-interest.

The article by Lisa Iezzoni, MD, of Harvard Medical School and others, says:

[A]pproximately one-third of physicians did not completely agree with disclosing 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 did not completely agree that they should disclose their financial relationships with drug and device companies to patients. Just over one-tenth said they had told patients something untrue in the previous year.

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