The AP (4/12) reports, “Physicians may choose riskier treatment for themselves than they’d recommend for their patients,” according to a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine. “The findings are important because patients faced with difficult medical decisions often ask their doctors, ‘What would you do?’ The answer reflects the doctors’ values — not necessarily those of the patient.”
For the study, 242 physician specialists were surveyed “to see which treatment they’d choose for themselves, and which they’d recommend to their patients,” the Los Angeles Times (4/11, Stein) “Booster Shots” reported. For example, in one scenario, “about 38% of doctors said that if they had colon cancer they’d chose the surgery with a higher mortality rate but fewer side effects,” while approximately “25% said they’d recommend that surgery for their patients.”
The Boston Globe (4/11, Kotz) “Daily Dose” blog reported, “In an additional survey of nearly 700 doctors, the researchers found that nearly 63 percent would choose to forgo a potentially lifesaving treatment for avian flu rather than experience the treatment’s side effects, but that only 49 percent would recommend this course of action to patients.”
According to WebMD (4/11, Doheny), a commentary accompanying the study noted that “doctors may weigh decisions more towards survival when recommending treatments for others.” The commentary “advises doctors to find out the values and concerns of patients before recommending a treatment.”
Also covering the story were the Wall Street Journal (4/12, D5, Hobson, Subscription Publication), Reuters (4/12, Joelving), HealthDay (4/11, Gardner), Medscape (4/11, Kling), and BBC News (4/12, Roberts).