Who lies? Doctors tell

A fascinating article in the Wall Street Journal today reported that a survey taken in 2009 found that 28% of patients admitted to lying to their doctors about how many drinks a week they had, cigarettes they smoked in a day and how often they exercised.

But the medical profession puts it at more than almost triple that -- at 77%.

Writer Sumathi Reddy said that it's often because people don't want to disappoint their doctors.  So doctors often add on to what we tell them.  Four drinks a week?  Make that eight, docs say, and base their treatment on that number.

What if you're like me, and don't lie (at least, about this stuff)?  Are we then being under- or overtreated?  Reddy didn't say.  But "doctors say omitting important information or lying can lead to the wrong treatment, medicine or even diagnosis," according to the article.

Parents, on the other hand, sometimes lie when they don't want to be judged.  Reddy gives the example of a mother telling the doctor her two-year-old no longer used a pacifier -- and the child opening the mom's purse, finding the binky and popping it in her mouth.  Been there, done that.



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