Bioethics Discussion Blog: Media Influence on the Practice of Medicine: Good or Bad or Misunderstood?

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Thursday, March 01, 2007

Media Influence on the Practice of Medicine: Good or Bad or Misunderstood?

Dr. R. tells his long time patient Mr. K that he now needs a liver transplant. Mr.K has anticipated the need and had read in the news about the poor transplant outcomes from a particular hospital. When Dr. R., who is affiliated with that hospital, suggests that Mr. K. sign up for a transplant there, Mr. K. rejects the suggestion and explains what he has read. Dr. R. can explain that the news doesn’t tell the whole story, the sicker population the hospital has received skews the statistics and that the hospital is the proper place to have his surgery. But Mr. K. may still not understand or agree. Here the media has possibly placed a wall between a previously successful doctor-patient relationship.

I provided the comment article about this scenario in the current March 2007 issue of the American Medical Association’s Virtual Mentor. The topic for the entire publication this month is Media Influence on the Practice of Medicine.” There are many ways in which the media can influence medical practice either for the good or for the bad. There are a variety of articles on this very topic at Virtual Mentor and I encourage my visitors to go there and learn and maybe return back and comment here about the topic. ..Maurice.

2 Comments:

At Tuesday, March 06, 2007 12:59:00 PM, Anonymous Moof said...

Dr. Bernstein, you covered all of the issues very carefully in your comment over at the AMA. I can't hope to add anything of real value to what you've said.

All I can offer is that I feel that each player has some measure of responsibility in this scenario:

- The media needs to practice responsible reporting ... this might be a lot to ask. *cough*

- The general public should try to remain informed about issues through researching trustworthy sources of information, and not allowing themselves to be unduly influenced by the reports of those who make a living from scandals and sensationalism ...

- Physicians should be trusted to put the patient's wellbeing before their affiliation to any particular groups.

As long as people continue to accept bias reporting, and sensationalist, poorly researched blurbs as truth - the use of misinformation, and incomplete information, will continue sow unnecessary fear and distrust.

Dr. Bernstein, I hope to get caught up on all that I've missed on your blog in the last few months. I haven't been able to do a lot of blogging. However, I expect to have a bit more time over the next 8 weeks or so ... I'm looking forward to spending some of that time right here.

 
At Tuesday, March 06, 2007 9:07:00 PM, Blogger Maurice Bernstein, M.D. said...

Moof, I think you well summarized what needs to be done. If your advice is carried out, I am sure that the public would be less confused over medical matters, doctors would be doing a better job for their patients and even the cost of medicsl care might be reduced. ..Maurice.

 

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