Medicine Information

What Not to Tell Your Doctor?

For many years since medicine has been established as an ethical profession and gained widespread credence people have believed that they could and should tell their doctor everything even remotely pertinent to their health and that it was held in the strictest confidence. Furthermore, how can the physician make accurate judgments when important or significant information is missing? This system worked very well until relatively recently but there now exists a breach of this confidence that people should know about and this breach has developed from the advent of third party investigations into people's backgrounds. Your medical records are no longer confidential because you are forced to reveal them. Let us look at some scenarios.

When visiting your doctor's office on a Monday not feeling well you tell him/her that you occasionally drink a half case of beer over the weekend. Believing in the confidentially of your records you forget about it. Some time later when you apply for life insurance the company requires you to sign a release for your medical records. (No release, no application.) The underwriters peruse your records, note the extra beer, and subsequently rate your premiums higher making you pay extra for decades, thousands of dollars.

You complain to your doctor of recurrent chest pain. Investigation reveals nothing, the discomfort resolves permanently and you have no further follow-up to document the benign resolution. Everything is O.K. Ah, but not really. Those words sit there permanently in the record. Later you apply for a mortgage or health insurance or life insurance, signing a release of your records. You are turned down flat or at least rated a higher premium.

Perhaps you have occasion to mention to your doctor that you have stress, marital discord, job problems, and mental/emotional problems, etc. You later apply for a job requiring security clearance or background checks. These jobs are many and include police, security and just about any job involving real responsibility. Despite having resolved the problems guess who might not get the job? You may never find out why, either.

You injure your hand and you admit to your doctor that you punched a wall in anger. It could be the only time you ever did something like that but guess what? Those words will sit there forever and be taken as evidence of emotional instability. Want to try for a responsible job?

It really is a shame to see someone pay higher life insurance premiums for decades or be passed over for a job they really want because of an entry in their medical record.

What can be done about this dilemma? (Webster: A predicament that defies a satisfactory solution.) Your concerns must be balanced against the doctor's need for information and his real need to document what he/she concluded and why. A correct solution would be very welcome but one is not apparent.

The best approach might be the following: Tell your doctor the truth and discuss with him/her your concerns regarding your record coming back to hurt you and how this can be managed in the best way. In the case of your problem turning out to be benign then make sure the record reflects this outcome and is satisfactory to you AT THAT TIME. Don't be required to scramble around years later trying to correct it. That's lame at best and you probably won't even get a chance. Besides, even doctors don't live forever.

If your problem turns out not to be benign, then there is no choice but to have it in your record. That's life.

When faced with a dilemma all one can do is make the most carefully considered decision one can. Work with your doctor and try to obtain a result that is best for you. After all, it's your life.

Just be careful out there.

(c)Vincent R. Moloney MD

This article may be reprinted in your ezine or website in its entirety provided you leave all links in place, do not modify the content and do include the resource box. Please notify the author with a courtesy copy.

Play music like you always wanted. Gain the knowledge you need to learn rapidly and cut out most of the practice drudgery. Dr. Moloney is a retired Family Practitioner with a lifelong interest in music and teaching. Empower yourself to take charge of your music learning by studying his E-book.

This RSS feed URL is deprecated, please update. New URLs can be found in the footers at

Shortage of medicine, drinking water for Kerala flood survivors
"They also need medicine for diarrhoea, rehydration powders and wipes to clean things." The Indian government has pledged $71m for victims of what state chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan called "the worst floods in 100 years". Randeep Kumar Rana of the ...
Kerala Floods: Over six lakh in relief camps; focus on food, medicine as fear of disease arisesNews Nation

all 4,895 news articles »

Good News Network

Top School of Medicine is Now Paying Tuition for All of Its Med Students
Good News Network
The NYU School of Medicine just announced that it is offering full-tuition scholarships to all current and future students in its MD degree program regardless of need or merit—a bold effort to simultaneously address the rising costs of medical ...
NYU to take care of Tuition fees of Medicine studentsThe Siasat Daily
NYU School of Medicine Offers Full-Tuition Scholarships to All New & Current Medical
Anonymous Gift Pays Tuition for Entire First Class at UH College of Medicine - University of HoustonUniversity of Houston
Pew Research Center -The Campaign for Free College Tuition
all 63 news articles »

111 alleged cold medicine buys nets man criminal 'smurfing' charge
MUSKEGON COUNTY, MI - A Muskegon man who allegedly made more than 100 separate purchases of pseudoephedrine has been charged criminally for "smurfing." Heath Priest, 46, was charged in Muskegon County court with possessing ...

Lewiston Morning Tribune

Thomas Medicine Elk Kenoras
Lewiston Morning Tribune
Thomas Medicine Elk Kenoras (Simseh — “Obsidian Sub Chief”/Ahtukka “Goose”), affectionately known as “Lil Tom” or “Goose,” entered the world on Nov. 11, 1997, to Lucy (Medicine Elk) and Bleu Jaye Kenoras at Clearwater Valley Hospital in Orofino.


The Doctors Without MDs: What Makes Osteopathic Medicine Different?
McQuain is a doctor of osteopathic medicine, or DO, the other type of medical doctor in the United States. And while osteopathic physicians are fully licensed doctors with the same prescribing privileges as MDs, the American Osteopathic Association ...


China/Africa health cooperation enhances medicine
“Through technological innovation in bioengineering and production, as well as in the efficiency of the whole supply chain, we can effectively improve the ways of drug research development and reduce the cost of future medicine production,” Qiyu said.
Africa needs to make more medicine, health ministersThe New Times

all 30 news articles »

Daily Telegraph

Nine million Aussies use a prescription medicine each day
Daily Telegraph
A survey of more than 1000 adult Australians conducted by YouGov Galaxy for NPS Medicinewise has found two in three parents have difficulty remembering how often to give their children medicine and half worry whether they are administering medicines ...

and more »

The Independent

Why land expropriation without compensation is the wrong medicine for South Africa's economic ills
The Independent
I wonder what goes through the mind of South African president Cyril Ramaphosa each morning. I imagine him sipping coffee, planning how he's going to get the country back to work. He must shake his head, marvelling in revulsion, at the scale of the ...

and more »


I Love You, Doc: A Brief, Boozy History of Alcohol as Medicine
Ancient Egyptians and Chinese are among the earliest adopters of booze as medicine; though in their cases, alcohol more as a vehicle for medicine, the way Red Bull is (why) a vehicle for vodka. According to Patrick McGovern, the UPenn professor who ...


How Retail Mental Health Could Be Medicine's Next Frontier
Throughout his residency and his last three years as a physician in psychiatry training at Mather Hospital in New York, Dr. Tamir Aldad saw upfront how thousands of mental health patients each year were sent home from the emergency room knowing they ...

Google News

home | site map | Dr. Thad Thomas
© 2006