Doctors Should Stop Lying to Patients

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<grumble>

I’m in the infusion center right now getting my monthly dose of cancer cure, and I asked the nurse for a copy of the results of my recent bloodwork. Last month I did this accidentally, and it turned out that the printed copy contained my M-protein levels. I normally have to wait for those until my doctor manually releases them.

I figured I had discovered a loophole in the system, but no. Today’s nurse told me the M-protein test was “in process” and therefore unavailable. I told her this just meant that Dr. A hadn’t released them yet. No, no, she insisted, and turned the screen around so I could see the words “In Process.” I repeated that this just meant the results were waiting for Dr. A to let me see them and then grumbled something about not understanding why I had to wait to see my own test results.

A minute later my nurse returned and said she had asked, but it was policy not to release this stuff, and last month’s nurse was new and didn’t realize that.

OK, fine. I don’t like it, but it’s fine. What really gets me, though, is their persistent unwillingness to admit that it’s “policy” at fault here, not something else. My first oncologist blamed it on IT and said I couldn’t see my M-protein results at all until an office visit. My current oncologist admits that I can see them, and blames the policy about manually releasing them on mysterious forces beyond his ken. The nurses try to pretend that it takes several days for the lab to do its job, and that’s why I can’t see them.

I’m not sure what bugs me more: not being allowed to see the results immediately or being routinely lied to. I even understand the reason for the policy (I think), and I admit that it probably makes some sense. But don’t doctors know that when they lie to patients about one thing, it makes patients wonder if they’re lying about other stuff too? Why not just tell me why they have the policy they do; admit that they themselves are the authors of that policy; and then promise to release the results promptly? I suppose that would prompt arguments from patients, and they don’t want to waste time on arguments.

I get that. I really do. But still. I wonder how many other things they don’t tell me because they figure it’s not worth the hassle?

</grumble>

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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