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.

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • You may quote other posts using [quote] tags.

More information about formatting options

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.


Subscribe to Critical Decisions

Current Issue

Let It Go!

It can take a radical reboot to get past old hurts and injustices.