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Survey shows one in 10 doctors lie to patients

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TWC News: Survey shows one in 10 doctors lie to patients
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CHARLOTTE -- One in 10 doctors in the United States lied to their patients in the past year, according to a study in the Journal of Health Affairs. More than 1,800 physicians nationwide were surveyed back in 2009 about their medical principles and ethics.

As a general practitioner at Blakeney Family Physicians, Dr. Benjamin Missick sees dozens of patients each day for a wide range of ailments. But he said at no time in his career has he ever lied to a patient, or known anyone who has.

"We take an oath and the oath is to take care of the patient," said Missick. "To go to bat for the patient, to be an advocate for them."

But according to a new survey in Health Affairs Journal this week, not everyone agrees on just how to do that. While the majority of the more than 1,800 doctors polled nationwide back in 2009 agreed physicians should keep their patients informed, roughly one in 10 admitted lying to their patients in the past year. About 20 percent said they didn't disclose a medical mistake for fear of being sued, and a little over half admitted they have put a positive spin on a patient's prognosis.

"I think you have to lay everything out on the table for the patient," said Missick.

As for medical mistakes, he says everyone makes mistakes.

"But when you're forthright with your patients when you have that relationship then there's nothing you need to worry about," said Missick.

As for whether the study will hurt healthcare providers, he said he doesn't think one study will have that power.

Missick recommends if you have to see a doctor, make a list of questions to insure your concerns are addressed. If you're still unclear, get a second opinion. And if you feel you're being lied to, find another physician.

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