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Bad medicine

Doctors withhold information from patients on "controversial" types of care, study finds

Tuesday, February 20, 2007 by: M.T. Whitney
Tags: bad medicine, western medicine, conventional medicine


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(NewsTarget) A recent study shows that more than one in ten doctors are willing to withhold information to patients about controversial types of care, including birth control and abortion. The report, published Wednesday, surveyed nearly 1,150 practicing U.S. doctors about what they would tell their patients.

Nearly one-third of doctors also say they do not feel obligated to tell patients where they can get such care.

However, the dominant share of doctors surveyed for a report in the New England Journal of Medicine agreed that full disclosure is the right way to go, even if they hold moral objections against what they are recommending.

The survey found that male doctors, Christian doctors and other doctors with strong religious beliefs were most likely to say withholding information is permissible.

For the 14 percent of doctors in the survey who said they would consider withholding information, that translates to a possible 14 percent of the U.S. population who might not be told everything by their doctors equating to more than 41 million people.

Consumer health advocate Mike Adams was appalled by the report, charging that doctors are complicit in a cover-up conspiracy favoring pharmaceutical companies.

"It is astonishing that so many doctors admit to willingly withholding information on alternative treatment options," said Adams, author of "Natural Appetite Suppressants for Safe, Effective Weight Loss." "Throughout conventional medicine, there really is a conspiracy to keep consumers ignorant of the healing power of herbs, nutrition, acupuncture, chiropractic care and many other modalities. Drug companies, doctors and even the FDA work in concert to deny consumers access to information that could save their lives. The purpose of all this is to limit health care to drugs and surgery, so that drug companies generate the maximum profits possible."

The study results show that when a patient is going to do a controversial form of medicine and that may include complementary and alternative medicines like homeopathy or and herbal and dietary supplements -- it is important that they bring up the ideas to their doctors or they might be missed in the conversation altogether.

Lastly, the survey found most doctors have objections to some form of medicine or treatment, but very few who hold reservations are willing to withhold information. For example, 42 percent of the surveyed doctors object to abortion for teenage children, but within that group, only 22 percent of those who object would withhold discussing the option.

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