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Welcome to the nexus of ethics, psychology, morality, technology, health care, and philosophy

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Patients who refuse their physicians’ advice

By Alex Lickerman
www.kevinmd.com Blog
Originally published December 17, 2013

Here is an excerpt:

While no medical intervention is 100% safe, the flu shot (for those not allergic to eggs) is pretty close. Yet every season, I never fail to have some of my patients refuse it. The most common reason I hear is, “I’ve never had the flu.” To this, I invariably say something like, “Just because you haven’t had a heart attack yet doesn’t mean you shouldn’t exercise.” I’d say roughly about half of my patients change their minds and decide to get the flu shot after I talk with them about it.

Over the years I’ve had numerous patients refuse my advice. It always bothers me — not because I like to think I’m right and my ego gets bruised, but because I genuinely believe my advice is in the best interest of my patients and I want them to do well. But over the years I’ve come to see that there are really two basic reasons patients refuse my advice, and that my response to them should be different.

The entire blog post is here.