Sunday, March 22, 2015

You tell your doctor ... what?

So you go to your doctor, get poked and prodded, blood sampled, x-rayed, studied, and tested.  And that is enough to tell what's wrong with you?  Not if you don't tell your doctor what's really going on.  It happens all the time.  Someone comes into the office and tells the physician just what the patient wants the physician to hear, no more and no less.  The result may be a bad outcome -- for lack of knowledge.

Here's a little piece that I contributed to that looked at:

In the process of working on this piece, here were my responses to some questions:

What would be on your most common list of lies patients say (maybe top 5) and how often do you hear them?
On a daily basis patient will tell me that they follow their diet, exercise regularly, stopped smoking, stopped drinking, and …. the big one … take their medications exactly as directed. 
Why is it important to tell your doctor the truth?
A physician comes to a diagnosis or prescribes a course of treatment based on assembling a set of facts and conditions that are believed to be true.  Lying, defrauding, hiding, misleading, fibbing, or otherwise failing to give your health care professional the complete and honest story may results in ineffective or even dangerous treatment.  Tests may be ordered, invasive or dangerous tests, that you do not need; ordered because of the scant facts provided to the doctor.  Medication may be prescribed that may not help, or may harm, based on a lack of full knowledge. 
Why do you think people are less than truthful when it comes to admitting health issues?
There are a whole host of reasons that will prompt a patient to lie.  Many behave as a child does, trying to satisfy a parent by saying just the right thing.  There is embarrassment, of course, the feeling of having done something wrong.  Smoking, drinking, even drug use are behaviors that everyone knows are bad, but must be "fessed up" to the doctor.  "So why tell him if I think it does not matter?"  Only maybe that brief fling with drugs in college really is the reason for the elevated liver enzymes that the physician does not even begin to suspect are from lingering hepatitis.  Fear of what might be found, or found out, also can come into play.  And some people just don't get it.  Medication compliance, a healthy diet, good habits, vigorous exercise -- those are things that others do, not me.  But why go into that when a nod of the head may satisfy the busy doctor.

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