Ethical ideals versus reality

The lede:

Doctors agree on the basic tenets of medical professionalism, but they frequently fail to live up to those ideals in practice, according to a survey of more than 1,600 physicians in the Dec. 4 Annals of Internal Medicine.

Nearly all of the physicians surveyed agreed doctors should use medical resources appropriately, tell patients the truth, minimize disparities, see patients regardless of their ability to pay, maintain board certifications, evaluate peers’ care, avoid sex with patients, work on quality initiatives, disclose conflicts of interest, report impaired or incompetent physicians, and report medical errors.

But more than half of doctors told investigators that they failed to report a serious medical error they observed, or a colleague who was impaired or incompetent, to authorities in the last three years. And more than a third of the doctors said they would order an unnecessary magnetic resonance imaging scan to mollify an insistent patient.

The whole shebang.