WILL FIBBING GET YOU INTO TROUBLE?
HAVE you ever exaggerated your symptoms to get a doctor’s appointment — or even lied?
That’s wrong on a number of levels, including your own health, says Daniel Sokol, a leading medical ethicist and barrister.
It could mean you receive the wrong treatment and it has repercussions for other patients, too. ‘It could mislead doctors into prioritising less injured, but dishonest, patients at the cost of more injured, but honest, patients,’ he says.
‘The system relies on honest communication between patient and doctor — patients should tell doctors the truth, and doctors should tell patients the truth.
‘If many patients lied to see a doctor, that would probably lead to more harm than good.’ Lying to a doctor would only be morally acceptable if telling the truth would lead to significant physical or psychological harm to someone, but that would be exceedingly rare, he says.
Lying may also provide doctors with a defence to any legal action if things go wrong.
‘The doctor may well argue the error was made as a result of the false information deliberately given by the patient.’