Wednesday, September 15, 2010

That's Dr. Liar to You

Today in my medical ethics class, we all agreed that it can be appropriate to lie to our patients. Oddly enough, I seemed to be the only one passionate about using this deception in the future. Here is an out-of-context quote that will probably haunt me later in my career:

"I'm so excited to use medical jargon to confuse my patients!"

Seems fine to me. If you are going to tread an ethically gray line, you might as well try out some moral breakdancing along the way.

1 comment:

  1. Funny you should write about that. Today in my human dissection lab lecture, we went through case studies and tried to connect symptoms and doctorly jargon to the actual happenings and causes of problems. One of these case studies centered around a mastectomy. After her breast tissue was removed, her husband reported that a spike had begun to appear in her mid-back, bony in nature and easily palpated, and that as the shoulder was protracted (flexed anteriorly), the spike was more apparent.

    The actuality of the event was that her long thoracic nerve had been severed during surgery. Serratus posterior superior, whose action includes holding the scapula tight to the ribcage (retraction of the scapula), just so happens to be innervated by the long thoracic nerve.

    Our GTA made a point to ask us, "Now, how would you explain this to a patient? What is the ONLY thing you could possibly say that wouldn't implicate you in a malpractice suit?" To which we all replied, "Say that the cancer was too intimately connected to the nerve, making excision necessary?" "Exactly."

    I guess the honors tutorial I took on ethics in medicine and medical research doesn't matter after all!