Despite the Hippocratic Oath and Maimonides Prayer for the Physician offering guidance for physician conduct, patient trust in their doctors continues to erode.
Unfortunately, the processes of medical counseling, informed consent and shared decision-making have been poisoned by unchecked financial conflicts-of-interest. From physicians getting paid to treat (the more they treat, the more they get paid – a prescription that also promotes delivering treatments with questionable benefits and, opaque discussions on potential downsides and alternatives); to most physicians being tied to corporations that reward volume of services over value (usually accomplished by undertaking unnecessary evaluations and performing unneeded treatments); to rewards for participating in clinical trials; to stipends for acting as company consultants (despite the hollow disclaimers); to payments for speaking engagements endorsing drugs and insurance plans; to radiation referral fees and ownership in various entities such as laboratories, outpatient surgery centers, rehabilitation hubs and equipment/device partnerships, it is little wonder that healthcare trust is suspect. Infecting the doctor-patient relationship even more is the cancer of financial sponsorship by the healthcare-industrial complex with the funding of physician meetings, conventions, studies and publications cleverly designed to exact physician endorsements of company propaganda. In fact, today, most if not all health interactions and information are twisted to exploit misconceptions, doubts and concerns just to influence consumer-patient decision-making for physician and corporate profiteering. Sadly, until doctors reconnect with the codes of conduct and earned trust, impartial medical advice for pure patient benefit is but an illusion.
Bert Vorstman MD
Coral Springs, Florida