Critical Decisions

The ins and outs of our medical decisions

Do Oncologists Lie to Their Patients About Their Prognoses

It's easy to give a medical colleague a 5% figure in the hallway, but at the bedside that's much harder. Read More

"That number, delivered under

"That number, delivered under such circumstances, would be negligent in its cruelty."

I disagree. Patients should be spoken to as honestly and clearly as colleagues. Some information requires time and care to be communicated in a sympathetic manner, but if the 5% figure were supported by the evidence, and the 20% figure by hope, then giving the patient the 20% figure seems far worse.

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Peter Ubel, M.D., author of Critical Decisions and Free Market Madness, is a physician, behavioral scientist, and Professor of Business and Public Policy at Duke University.

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