This  Medscape Article titled Poll: 43% of Doctors Say Lying For Colleague Could Be Justified confirms what lawyers already know. Doctors aren’t any more honest than the next guy.

In the poll of 922 physicians, only 57% said it was never okay to lie to protect a colleague.

Nurses have more scruples–82% of nurses said it was never okay to lie to protect a colleague.

One respondent called lying medicine’s dirty little secret.

My Take:

I wonder what percent of the 57% think lying in polls is justified? Wow, I’m such a cynic!

Doctors have the public totally bushwhacked on this. Most people trust doctors more than preachers.

Lawyers and politicians–people think we’re usually lying. But doctors? Never! Cue the violins.

It’s in our culture going back to when we’re babies to trust doctors. We trust them with our lives because…..we have to. How are we supposed to know if we really need that surgery now? We’d rather not think about the possibility that doctors aren’t infallible.

Yet I don’t totally buy the poll results. The results are accurate only if the responding physicians were all being honest. I’m skeptical.

I think it’s more like 60% of physicians would lie for a colleague. It’s in their culture. I don’t know why.

More frustrating are the doctors who tell a patient that another doctor screwed up and then deny it when the patient sues. Back when I was screening medical malpractice cases, people often said that a doctor told them that an earlier doctor screwed up. This happened a lot. In many instances it was why the people were looking for a lawyer.

I always told the people that if the doctor didn’t write it in the patient records (and they almost never did), they would deny saying it. My results were 100% on this prediction.

I agree that in general, nurses are more honest and less protective of colleagues than doctors. Again, I don’t know why. If I had to guess, it’s because doctors always treat each other with respect but sometimes are tools to nurses.

If I have a strong medical malpractice case, I am fine with a nurse on my jury. But I’d probably always preemptively strike a doctor. Not that I’ve ever seen one show up for jury duty.