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Doctors’ Honesty Put to the Test

Survey Finds Some Doctors Are Not Truthful About Patients' Prognoses and Are Unwilling to Disclose Mistakes for Fear of Lawsuits

Doctor Honesty Study: Second Opinion

"I think these are important findings," says Caleb Alexander, MD, a faculty member at the University of Chicago's MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics. He is also an associate professor of internal medicine. It should motivate doctors and patients to talk about their relationship, he says.

However, he tells WebMD, not knowing the explanation for the behaviors is a limitation.

A doctor bending the truth may be doing so out of his own best interest or the patient's, Alexander says.

For instance, if he has a highly anxious patient who has one lab test that is slightly out of the normal range -- but does not pose a problem to her health -- he may tell her all is well rather than alarm her without need.

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