Massachusetts Hospitals Promise Openness, Honesty with Patients

This is indeed a strange headline. It’s nearly the same one in a Boston Globe article from a few days ago. It’s strange because we should be able to take this for granted. Doctors and hospitals are SUPPOSED TO be honest and open with patients! They shouldn’t have to make a pledge to do it! The story concerns a campaign involving 7 Massachusetts hospitals that have taken the pledge in order to reduce medical malpractice lawsuits. However, it’s misleading because the effort should be part of the medical culture. If it’s not, there’s something wrong with that culture. As professionals, doctors have an ethical duty to be open and honest with their patients regardless of the outcome or the result. Patients should be able to expect this as a minimum standard and not THE standard. Strange indeed.