Study: Doctors Often Hedge Grim Prognoses

From Times Wire Reports

Many doctors treating cancer patients either exaggerate how much time they have left to live or withhold that crucial piece of information even with death just weeks away, according to a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Researchers at the University of Chicago Medical Center found physicians were willing to give their best assessment only 37% of the time.

Dr. Elizabeth Lamont, who co-conducted the study, said the findings reflect physicians' fears that a bad prognosis might have a negative effect on their patients. But she cautioned that "these patients may need or want to accomplish certain things before they die and this overly optimistic prognosis from the doctor may interfere with that."

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