Posted by: Salvatore J. Zambri, founding member and partner
Health Affairs, which touts itself as the leading journal of health policy and research, recently published results of a survey indicating that at least some physicians are not always open or honest with patients. Health Affairs is a multidisciplinary journal that covers a wide range of health care topics. It was founded in 1981as part of Project Hope, a nonprofit international health education organization. According to the survey of physicians, varying attitudes exist regarding how much information should be relayed to patients. The excerpt below summarizes the survey results as well as the opinion of Health Affairs authors.
“The Charter on Medical Professionalism, endorsed by more than 100 professional groups worldwide and the US Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education, requires openness and honesty in physicians’ communication with patients. We present data from a 2009 survey of 1,891 practicing physicians nationwide assessing how widely physicians endorse and follow these principles in communicating with patients. The vast majority of physicians completely agreed that physicians should fully inform patients about the risks and benefits of interventions and should never disclose confidential information to unauthorized persons. Overall, approximately one-third of physicians did not completely agree with disclosing serious medical errors to patients, almost one-fifth did not completely agree that physicians should never tell a patient something untrue, and nearly two-fifths did not completely agree that they should disclose their financial relationships with drug and device companies to patients. Just over one-tenth said they had told patients something untrue in the previous year. Our findings raise concerns that some patients might not receive complete and accurate information from their physicians, and doubts about whether patient-centered care is broadly possible without more widespread physician endorsement of the core communication principles of openness and honesty with patients.”
If knowing the complete information about your health is important to you, discuss your concerns with your physician. Do you want all news, even when it’s bad? Would you rather not know? The decision is very personal and individual, but making certain that you and your physician are in agreement should be important to everyone. At a minimum, you should be informed of all information necessary to make fully-informed decisions about your health.
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About the author:
Mr. Zambri is a Board-Certified Civil Trial Attorney and Past-President of the Trial Lawyers Association of Metropolitan Washington, D.C. The association has recently named him the ” 2011 Trial Lawyer of the Year“. He has also been acknowledged by Washingtonian magazine as a “Big Gun” and among the “top 1%” of all of the more than 80,000 lawyers in the Washington metropolitan area. The magazine also acknowledged him as “one of Washington’s best–most honest and effective lawyers” who specializes in medical malpractice matters, product liability claims, and serious automobile accident claims. Mr. Zambri was recently (2011 edition) acknowledged as one of the “Best Lawyers in America” by Best Lawyers, and has also been repeatedly named a “Super Lawyer” by Law and Politics magazine (2011)–a national publication that honors the top lawyers in the country.
Mr. Zambri is regularly asked to present seminars to lawyers and doctors, as well as both medical and law students concerning defective drugs, medication errors, medical malpractice litigation, and safety improvements.
If you have any questions about your legal rights, please email Mr. Zambri at [email protected]. You may also reach him at 202-822-1899.