Doctors Place Self-Interest Ahead Of Patients In Study

A disturbing study by the Massachusetts General Hospital was reported in the December 6, 2007 issue of the Harvard Crimson Newspaper. The paper reported that the study disclosed that nearly half of the doctors surveyed are more likely to protect their colleagues than their patients. Forty percent of the doctors admitted to not reporting a serious medical error they had witnessed. Likewise, forty-five percent admitted to not reporting a physician who they knew to be impaired or incompetent.
Additionally, the study found that the physicians had failed to live up to standards in preventing the waste of medical resources, with over one-third accommodating the patient who insisted on a test the doctor knew was unnecessary. Doctors were also revealed to be very poor at managing economic conflicts, with the majority saying they would refer patients to facilities in which they had financial stakes. Nearly one-quarter of the doctors stated they would not inform the patient of this potential conflict, even though such activities could be considered illegal under medicare rules.
The researchers interviewed 1,662 practicing physicians including three groups of primary care doctors, – internists, family practitioners and pediatricians and three groups of specialists, – surgeons, anesthesiologists and cardiologists.

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