Tue | Aug 3, 2021

Do you want an honest doctor?

Published:Saturday | July 5, 2014 | 12:00 AM

Dr. Douglas Street, Contributor

Doctors are still highly respected members of our communities and are, therefore, expected to carry out their duties honestly and fairly. The society depends on them to do just that. But we know there is no shortage of incidents that cause us to question if that is really the case.

It is said that 'honesty is the best policy', and most of us embrace this until it gets in the way of what we want. We want our police to be honest until we think we should bribe them to get out of a traffic ticket. And the same extends to doctors. We expect them to be honest until we want sick leave to which we are not entitled. They are expected to be open until we want them to keep a sick loved one from knowing that they have a terminal condition. They should maintain confidentiality until we want information about a loved one's illness. No need to mention illegal abortions.

Doctors are human beings and are just as prone to err as the next person. They may do things that are less than honest either to benefit themselves or their clients. Some may argue that they still have selfish motives when they commit dishonest acts that benefit their clients because they are trying to please them so that the client may not seek help elsewhere in the short and/or long term.

Medical insurance is an area frequently abused by doctors and their clients. Some clients want to use other persons' insurance policies for office visits and medication. At times, the doctor knows, but at other times, it's without his knowledge. Sometimes persons want to use their insurance to purchase non-medical items and may collude with a doctor. Other times, they may claim benefits from the insurance to which they may not be entitled. This may even be done without the knowledge of the client. Some persons may even use their insurance to get cash by swiping their card and collecting cash from the doctor.

Another area of potential abuse is sick leave. A client may want time from work to conduct personal business and come to the doctor for sick leave. At times, they may tell the doctor their true intention, or they may say they are tired and need rest.

Of course, those who abuse privileges may lose them and suffer the consequences.