Why Do Doctors Lie to Their Patients?


Not all doctors believe that honesty is the best policy regarding the patients. These are the results of the survey, conducted by the researchers from Harvard University.

Female Doctors

The experts interviewed nearly 2,000 physicians. It was found that 34% of them did not feel like they had to inform the patients about serious medical errors. 20% admitted that they had done it the previous year for fear of administrative or criminal prosecution. Slightly less than a half of those surveyed did not think they had to share the money obtained from their patients with pharmaceutical companies. 55% of the physicians told their patients about the disease in a positive way, without revealing the whole truth no matter how terrible it was, trying to support the patient in such a way.

So why do we lie? Doctors can not tell the 100% truth for several reasons: because of the fear (they are people, too), because of the difficulty to diagnose the disease correctly, pursuing material goals… According to Dr. Lisa Iezzoni, the leading author of the research, professor at Harvard Medical School, nobody knows the exact reasons why this happens, but it is a sign for patients to be careful and go to the doctor, whom they trust.

There is another opinion. Dr. Dale Collins, head of the Center for Informed Choice in the Dartmouth-Hitchcock medical center thinks that doctors try to act correctly. If you do not tell the doctor the whole truth about yourself, he/she will make assumptions about your health, based on his/her personal experiences and perception. This approach may not be the best treatment option for you.