March 29, 2012
There was a very nice, honest piece in the Op-Ed section of the NYT recently about doctors’ feelings and why they lie (or don’t tell the whole truth) to their patients. The physician/author candidly shared some very personal feelings and stories about when she wasn’t able to tell her patients the truth and when she actually lied to them.
Many physicians (and the attorneys who counsel them) believe that if they give bad news or, even worse, if they admit to committing a medical error, they will be the subject of a malpractice law suit. Interestingly, however, the data suggests otherwise: patients rarely sue doctors who they like and who are honest with them. Think about it: its no surprise that patients are more likely to sue their doctor when they find out that the doctor messed up and covered up something while caring for them. In contrast, when someone frankly and honestly apologizes to you for making a human error, you are far more likely to forgive them.
Perhaps honesty really is the best policy.
March 21, 2012
Last week I was invited to be interviewed on a talk radio show hosted by Dr Carol Scott, an ER physician who trained at Hopkins and is interested in the topic of Stress. We discussed disruptive professionals, talking about what the term means, what leads to such situations and how to deal with a disruptive professional you might work with.
You can listen to an archive of the show, but please note that the audio problems Dr Scott was dealing with during the first segment resolved after the first break.
March 8, 2012
I just read an survey study about the health and well-being of medical residents that was done by a chief resident at a local Baltimore hospital. The article describes the well-known difficulties that residents face such as sleep deprivation, social isolation, etc. Then they looked at health-related behaviors including seeking medical or psychiatric care. Not surprisingly, most medical residents reported not having a primary care physician, not calling out when they were sick and not seeking emotional support. Perhaps even more disturbing than these results was the fact that many did not disclose information to their treatment providers (when they did seek treatment) or did not seek treatment because of fears of confidentiality breaches. It’s a sad statement when doctors do not trust fellow doctors to keep private their personal information.