Eight years ago, I received at work, a shocking press release. In part of it said, “It’s an open secret in healthcare communities: patients lie.”Sometimes when we lie to doctors, it's simply to keep them from reaching a wrong conclusion and subjecting us to needless pain. Click To Tweet
The reasons were many. Some lie because they don’t want to admit unhealthy behaviors to their doctors. For others, by not voicing a concern they subconsciously deny its existence. Still others make their own determinations as to what’s important and what’s not, lying to keep from revealing what they deem to be irrelevant.
Yet I think I understood this. I’ve made casual comments to doctors and the next thing I know they would want to schedule me for a series of tests unrelated to my visit or they would prescribe a medicine for a minor issue and the drug’s side-effects were worse than my minor ailment.
Sometimes these trivialities were verbally regurgitated visit after visit, long after I’ve forgotten them. As in, “Are you still suffering from blurred vision?” I respond, “That was three years ago and I haven’t accidently poked myself in the eye since then.”
Too often doctors only half listen. Once they hear a certain keyword, they tune out the details that surround it. They leap to a diagnosis or treatment for a problem that isn’t there.
Sometimes when we lie to doctors, it’s simply to keep them from reaching a wrong conclusion and subjecting us to needless pain.
Wordsmith Peter DeHaan is magazine publisher by day and a writer by night. Visit peterdehaan.com to receive his newsletter, read his blog, or connect on social media.