Healthcare providers who lie to patients deny them the information needed to make informed decisions and in the process place patient trust and safety in jeopardy. Physicians, nurses, and other healthcare staff have a duty to their patients that includes providing accurate information about treatments, procedures, and when mistakes occur, the details of what happened.
The Damage of a Lie
Medical errors are common and whether the mistake occurred in the physician’s office, hospital room, or surgical theater, the consequences can be fatal. These risks are compounded when a lie leads to the need for additional medical care such as a corrective surgery, prolonged hospitalization, extended physical therapy, or a revised treatment plan.
Healthcare providers sometimes lie about medical mistakes to protect their own reputation or to shield the reputation of a colleague from claims of medical malpractice. They might lie to hide unauthorized treatment or because they performed procedures of questionable medical value.
Ultimately, healthcare providers lie to hide their failure to provide the standard of care they were entrusted to provide. When physicians, nurses, anesthesiologists, and other medical professionals lie about the treatment they provide, they place all of their future patients at risk of serious injury or death. There is no such thing as “a little white lie” in healthcare and members of the medical team are required by law to provide patients with truthful, accurate answers to their questions. When they don’t, they injure patient’s health and they erode patient trust in the safety and efficacy of medical procedures and care provided by the office, hospital, or surgical center.
Liability for Lies
Physicians, nurses, and other members of the medical team can be held liable when they are dishonest about medical mistakes. In addition to bringing medical negligence claims, victims and their malpractice lawyers can pursue claims against individuals and entities whose lies have caused them pain and suffering, financial loss, or impacted their quality of life under the Unfair Trade Practices Act. Moreover, the state can choose to pursue criminal charges and assess financial penalties against healthcare providers who commit perjury and lie under oath.
Types of Lies That Doctors May Tell
There are several types of lies that doctors may tell to their patients to minimize or hide malpractice. For example, they may omit the truth when informing patients, minimize symptoms or conditions, or provide patients with simplified explanations that don’t properly disclose all information.
Some instances have also involved doctors lying on medical records as they fail to acknowledge or admit to wrongdoing. They might also change information on existing medical records to remain consistent with their narrative.
What to Do if a Doctor Lies to You
Can you sue a doctor for lying? If a doctor lies to you, you may wonder if you can file a lawsuit or claim for medical malpractice. If the doctor’s lie constitutes a breach of duty of care, you may be able to sue him or her.
Part of a doctor’s duty of care is to be honest and accurately inform patients about diagnoses and conditions, treatment, and prognoses. If a doctor lies about any of this information, it may count as a breach of duty of care, warranting a claim.
If you want to begin a malpractice case, you should start by changing your doctor. Doing so can prevent further harm and modifications to your medical records. You should also retain copies of all medical records that you may be able to use as evidence to support your case.
With all relevant documentation, you should then consult a medical malpractice attorney to discuss a potential claim or lawsuit. He or she will be able to review your case and determine what legal options are available to you.