12% of physicians say it's OK to lie to patients about medical errors, poll finds

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Twelve percent of physicians and 4 percent of nurses said it is acceptable to lie to patients about a medical error, according to recent Medscape poll.

Medscape received 648 responses to the poll analyzing medical professionals' feelings on lying to patients. The responses included 286 physicians and 362 nurses and advanced practice registered nurses.

Three findings from the poll:

1. Three times as many physicians (24 percent) said it was sometimes OK to lie to a patient about their prognosis compared with nurses and APRNs (8 percent).

2. When asked if it was ever OK to lie on behalf of a patient to get treatment approval or reimbursement, almost one in three physicians (29 percent) said it was OK, compared to 23 percent of nurses and APRNs.

3. Among physician respondents, 26 percent said they had lied on behalf of a patient to obtain treatment approval or reimbursement; 17 percent said they had lied to patients about a medical error; and 14 percent said they lied to a patient about their prognosis. However, almost half (45 percent) of physician respondents said they had not lied about any of those outcomes.

To access the full report, click here.

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