Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Health Care Reform:

Health Insurance & Affordable Care Act

WebMD Health News

Doctor Ethics Survey: What Would Your MD Do?

Nov. 19, 2012 -- What would your doctor do in a tricky ethical situation?

Medscape, WebMD's physician web site, recently surveyed 24,000 doctors to find out. They asked doctors how they'd handle a wide range of ethical dilemmas, including sex with patients, assisted suicide, abortion, end-of-life care, and dealing with terminal illness.

Some of their answers may surprise you. Here's what Medscape heard from doctors in a wide range of medical specialties:

Lying to Patients

If a patient wants a treatment that his or her doctor believes isn't needed, would the doctor ever prescribe a fake treatment? Yes: 34%. No: 48%. It depends: 18%.

If it would "bolster their spirit," would doctors not tell patients about a fatal illness? One in 10 doctors (10%) said they would, while 18% said it depends on the situation. Most doctors (72%) said they always tell it like it is.

Should doctors always admit making mistakes, even if the mistake caused no harm? Most doctors (63%) said they'd come clean. But 16% said they'd cover up their error, and 21% said, "It depends."

Assisted Suicide

When asked if physician-assisted suicide should be allowed in some situations, 47% of doctors said "yes," 40% said "no," and 13% said, "It depends."

Defensive Medicine

Would your doctor perform an unnecessary operation or other procedure just because not doing it might result in a malpractice lawsuit?

A whopping 23% of doctors said they would. Just over half (55%) said they would not, but 22% said, "It depends."

Intensive Care for Dying Newborns

This is possibly the hardest question in the survey: Is it right to provide intensive care to a newborn who will either die soon or survive but have an objectively terrible quality of life? Yes: 34%. No: 27%. It depends: 39%.

Sex With Patients

Is it ever OK for a doctor to have sex with a patient?

Only 1% of doctors think so, if the person is still a patient. Another 22% think it's OK if they wait until six months after the person stops being a patient. And 9% say, "It depends." The other 68% say it's never OK.

Latest Health Reform News

Loading …
URAC: Accredited Health Web Site TRUSTe online privacy certification HONcode Seal AdChoices