Patients lie. That’s just a reality. This WSJ article spells it out in detail. “Common lies include everything from diet and exercise regimens to medication adherence, sexual histories, and taking alternative medicines.” Over the years, I think I have seen it all. I have seen a lot of illicit drug use that was only admitted to me after years of being my patient. I have seen lies about med use that have made me look bad when I increased the dose. The numbers are staggering. A physician survey referenced in the article states the 77% said that one-fourth or more of their patients omitted facts or lied, and 28% estimated it was half or more of their patients. The truth of the matter is that all people lie a little bit. Not all of it is malicious. I never took it personally unless they were trying to manipulate something from me. Heck, even doctors shade the truth sometimes. “A study published last year in the journal Health Affairs found that just over one-tenth of more than 1,800 physicians surveyed had told patients something untrue in the previous year.” The only difference I can see is that the patient won’t get sued if he or she lies. The doctor will. We are always at risk.
*I want to give a special shout out to Ari Brown, a pediatrician interviewed in the WSJ piece, who I have know for many years. Great job!