patients

  1. Your doctor's deepest, darkest secrets

    Ever get the sense that your doctor isn't being completely straight with you?

    You're not just paranoid. A new survey finds that many docs think it's OK to lie to their patients about everything from their cozy relationships with drug companies to serious medical mistakes.

    In fact, more than a third of them say patients don't need to know when their care has been botched.

    This isn't just "in theory," mind you. In the past year alone, a full 20 percent of doctors say they've made a medical mistake they didn't tell the patient about -- and these are just the ones who'll admit to it.

    God knows how many others have done it, but won't cop to it even in an anonymous survey.

    Another 11 percent admit to telling an out-and-out lie to a patient or a child's parent, and a full 55 percent say they've given their patients a more optimistic prognosis than what they really deserve.

    Truth? You can't handle the truth!

    And that's not the only funny business docs are 'fessing up to: Thirty-five percent say they don't need to tell their patients about any money they collect from drug companies, even if they're prescribing the patient a med from that company.

    I wish I could say I'm surprised by the survey published in Health Affairs… but I'm not.

    The sad reality is the one place where you're most vulnerable -- the exam room, where you're naked except for a paper robe -- is the one place you should never let your guard down.

  2. The 'sins of omission' that could kill you

    Researchers leave out critical data

    If there's a snake more slippery than a politician running for office, it's a medical researcher on the Big Pharma payroll. The difference? When those researchers lie, patients die.

    Researchers routinely leave out safety data, exaggerate drug benefits, and downplay side effects -- and despite all that, their papers breeze through peer review and land in the pages of the world's most prestigious journals. And then YOU get to read about them on the front page of The New York Times.

    Well, one of those journals is blowing the whistle on the whole operation. BMJ has published no less than seven new papers exposing the shady world of drug research -- and it's every bit as ugly as what I've been telling you.

    One team of research detectives managed to get hold of the unpublished data from the published trials of nine drugs. Of 41 later meta-analyses that relied on those studies, 38 would have had completely different outcomes if the missing data had been there all along.

    And if you think the studies that get published are fatally flawed, you should see what DOESN'T get sent to the journals.

    Researchers deliberately and routinely hide studies that don't turn out as planned. And believe it or not, there's almost no penalty for this. Heck, drug companies will REWARD you for it.

    In all, nearly 80 percent of the studies concluded in 2009 disappeared completely, according to another BMJ study.

    Even many of the studies YOU pay for never see the light of day: Less than half the research funded by the National Institutes of Health -- studies that are often little more than gifts to the drug industry -- are published within 30 months, and a third remain unpublished even at the three-year mark, according to BMJ.

    The editors of BMJ are demanding big-time changes, including disciplinary action against researchers who hide their data.

    All I can say is, don't hold your breath.

  3. How docs sell you out

    If you're a doctor and your New Year's resolution is "make more money," a leading medical Web site has some ideas for you -- and all you have to do is sell out yourself, your practice, your patients, and your fellow doctors.
  4. Unnecessary tests are YOUR fault

    It's not your doctor's fault he keeps ordering up tests you don't need -- it's YOURS! Docs admit in a new survey that patients are getting over-treated and over-tested -- and while the practice has helped those same docs earn big bucks over the years, that's not why they do it.
  5. Revolutionary approach to Alzheimer's

    Treat patients like human beings, and they'll behave like human beings -- no matter how sick they are. ... But this is what passes for cutting-edge Alzheimer's care these days.
  6. Wakeup call for ER docs

    Sometimes, I don't know who's in worse shape: hospital patients -- or the residents who treat them!
  7. Undercover patients keep an eye on docs

    The ethics council of the American Medical Association (AMA) proposed that AMA endorse the practice of using "undercover patients."
  8. Should Internet companies handle your medical records?

    The New England Journal of Medicine has sounded the alarm about Internet companies such as Microsoft and Google that are now offering web-based personal health records.

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