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White Coats, White Lies: How Honest Is Your Doctor?
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of Time Magazine

Time Magazine, February 9, 2012
Posted: March 20th, 2012

Is your doctor telling you the truth? Possibly not, according to a new survey in Health Affairs of nearly 1,900 physicians around the country. The researchers found that 55% of doctors said that in the last year they had been more positive about a patients prognosis than his medical history warranted. And 10% said they had told patients something that wasnt true. About a third of the MDs said they did not completely agree that they should disclose medical errors to patients, and 40% said they didnt feel the need to disclose financial ties to drug or device companies. Nearly 20% of the doctors admitted that they didnt disclose a medical error to their patients because they were afraid of being sued for malpractice. Doctors fear of malpractice suits may often be misplaced. Studies suggest that in cases where physicians are open about their mistakes, patients are more likely to be understanding and refrain from suing. So how can doctors learn to be more honest with their patients? More training about how to communicate with people about their health is critical especially when it comes to delivering bad news. Patients also need to be clear and firm about how honest they want their doctors to be. Communication is a two-way street, after all, even in the doctors office.

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