Physicians are much more likely than advanced practice nurses (APRNs) to find the lie to patients on some acceptable issues, according to a new Medscape Survey .
When asked if it was acceptable to lie to patients about a medical error, for example, 12% of doctors answered yes, compared with 4% of nurses. Eighteen percent of physicians and 13% of nurses / APRNs said they were uncertain.
In announcing their prognosis to patients, again three times as many doctors as nurses / APRNs declared that it was sometimes acceptable to lie (24% of physicians responded that way, compared with 8% of nurses / APRN). The degree of uncertainty was about the same for both groups: 14% of physicians and 15% of nurses were uncertain.
A psychiatrist who responded to the recent survey said that he was in agreement that honesty was the best policy and that lying to cover up mistakes was never acceptable ", in In certain circumstances, telling the truth can do more harm than benefit to the patient, and sometimes an illusion is better than living with a truth that you can not live with, "he writes.
An internist who commented said that sometimes the line is dark between lying and wishful thinking.
"Surviving members of the family have often accused me of lying about the prognosis and giving them false hope," he said. "My usual answer is that doctors also have hope."
The 648 survey responses included 286 physicians and 362 nurses / APRN.
Lying for treatment or reimbursement for a patient?
The survey also asked if it was ever acceptable to lie on behalf of a patient for approval or reimbursement of treatment – which elicited the most positive positive responses for both groups: 29% of physicians said yes and 23% of nurses / APRNs agreed, although there was a lot of uncertainty (16% for doctors and 19% for nurses).
Respondents answer "Have you ever …"
The survey revealed different percentages when respondents answered if they had lied to patients in these circumstances.
Of the physicians, 17% said they lied to patients about a medical error; 14% lied to a patient about his prognosis; 26% lied on behalf of a patient to obtain approval or reimbursement of treatment; and 45% said they did not lie on any of these things.
Of the nurses / APRNs, 6% said they lied to patients about a medical error or lied to them about their prognosis; 10% reported having lied on behalf of their patients for treatment or reimbursement; and 62% said they did not lie on any of these things.
A pediatrician who responded to the survey was not surprised that clinicians were lying. He wrote: "Nurses and doctors are spreading the truth all the time, mainly to get the necessary services and prescription drugs for patients."
The survey followed Medscape Report who referenced a study of more than 630 residents from 22 specialties, which revealed that even if the vast majority would tell the truth about a medical error, 10% would not disclose the truth or would be given to another doctor.
Another study mentioned in the article, which included 1,900 physicians across the United States, revealed that only 83% were in agreement that doctors should never tell a patient something that does not happen. was not true, and only 66% thought that all important medical errors should be revealed to the patients concerned.
In addition, 11% of physicians said they had told an adult patient or guardian about something that was not true in the past year, and 20% had not completely disclosed an error to a patient for fear of being sued.
A Medscape survey in 2017 found that out of 922 responding physicians in all specialties ", 57% said that lying to protect a colleague was never acceptable, 38% said it could be justified if it did not cause harm to the patient; said that this could be justified even sometimes is not in the best interests of the patient. "