A strong metaphor, isn’t it? But that is the underlying principle of Dr Gregory House, the main character in the popular, award winning series, House MD. After going through the first two seasons, now watching the third season, it makes perfect sense when he says, All Patients Lie.
This philosophy, and some other debatable principles, stands to explain his attitude towards patients in generally.
Then I asked myself, ‘Do all patients really lie?’. Dr House’s controversial statement should not be looked at plainly. It has so many facets that one would need to be flexible to grasp it all.
But the next classical question that would normally follow is, Why would a Patient lie? Do patients understand that it is what ever symptom, they tell, or not tell, a doctor that is acted upon? Is it that the lies are unintentional, or patients believe that the doctor should figure out the missing piece? How is it that the history gotten from patients have so many loop holes?
Some lies could be quite glaring, you know! Some times, doctors have to put aside certain information for various reasons. The fact that one of such reasons is because the story do not sum up, is a big problem. Other reasons may be because it is not medically reasonable, in terms of making a diagnosis.
These lies are becoming more frequent occurrences. A slip in the progression of a disease or condition, due to one ‘simple’ lie, alters the diagnosis completely. Wrong diagnosis translates to wrong treatment and care.
It is better you do not give a medical history, as a parent, relative or care giver, than to give a distorted account.
Dr House also believes that direct patient-to-doctor interaction, is an anomaly. This deduction is stemming from the countless times patients or their care-giver have had to lie to boycott the system.
This is where I beg to differ from Dr House. A seamless patient-to-doctor interface is necessary for a complete care to be said to have been rendered. But the LIES have to stop!!! Of all persons you should never lie to, is your doctor!!