Survey Finds 1 in 10 Smokers Hide That Fact From a Doctor; But What Does That Actually Mean?
A new survey found that one in ten smokers do not tell their doctors that they are smokers. This is important not just because doctors should be aware of their patients smoking. Granted, doctors play a MAJOR role in reaching out to smokers and helping them quit this very bad habit. But it is REALLY important because if smokers are not telling patients that they indeed do smoke, something that a doctor who—during a physical exam—is LIKELY to figure out the patient smokes (i.e. smell), then what else do patients hide? This survey might be extracted to drinking, drugs, and other unsafe practices to show that other patients are also hiding habits.
One reason that the survey provided was that patients might not disclose to doctors that they smoke because of the stronger social stigma recently around smokers; the trend is discouraging smoking. Thus, it might be seen as embarrassing the patient. Therefore, this ALSO could extract this to individuals who have embarrassing health conditions that they also do not want to share with their doctors!
I have posted numerous times that it is important for DOCTORS to adequately communicate with their patients. That poor communication leads to misunderstandings and errors, which in turn develop into lawsuits and even medical malpractice! BUT this is not a one-way road! Patients need to tell their doctors everything too because, if they do not and something unexpectedly goes wrong, the doctor COULD be insulated from liability because the patient did not fully disclose everything. For example, it would be dangerous for a heavy drinker to not tell his doctor about it if that doctor was going to prescribe blood thinners or high blood pressure medication.
So the bottom line is that yes, physicians should really try to pull from their patients about their bad habits. But patients should really be disclosing to their doctors EVERYTHING—whether or not the doctor asks! There needs to be a free exchange of information between you and your doctor!! The best way for them to accurately treat you is if they know everything in your file—especially the embarrassing things!
But what do you think? I would love to hear from you! I welcome your phone call on my toll-free cell at 1-866-889-6882 or you can drop me an e-mail at [email protected] . You are always welcome to request my FREE book, The Seven Deadly Mistakes of Malpractice Victims, at the home page of my website at www.protectingpatientrights.com.