In a recent issue of the Health Affairs journal, a survey shows 1 in 10 doctors were honest enough to have admitted that they have knowingly lied to at least one patient this year. Nearly 20% admitted that they did not inform a patient about a medical mistake fearing a malpractice lawsuit. More than that, over 50% of the doctors underplayed the seriousness of a prognosis than necessary.
These results are significant enough on their own. But one thing that should be considered is that these figures are based on doctors who were honest enough to admit this without being under oath. Under penalty of perjury, there would most likely be more doctors who would admit to lying, whitewashing a prognosis or not disclose an error. Even then, could it be said that there is any certainty that every dishonest doctor would confess to lying?
Why would a doctor lie to a patient? One reason is that, simply put, they are not adequately covered for malpractice lawsuits. Another is that these lawsuits are bad publicity for their practice. For this reason, many doctors and hospitals put mandatory arbitration clauses in their pretreatment documentation.
Some people believe that all doctors are protected by malpractice insurance and that it is required by law. Unfortunately, our medical malpractice attorneys in Baltimore at Snyder and Snyder are all too aware of the loopholes in the malpractice laws of many states that doctors can use to avoid this expense. These doctors are all too aware that if they get sued for malpractice, their trust accounts and other "technical" coverage may not be adequate to pay for damages. It would follow that dishonesty and incomplete disclosure can become part of the doctor-patient relationship.
We highly recommend for everyone to gather all the facts and to get a second opinion (even a third and fourth if needed) in case your doctor chooses to undisclose all the facts.