If a doctor’s lies are the direct cause of an adverse outcome you suffered, it is a breach of the standard of care, and you can file a medical malpractice claim.

The most high-profile medical malpractice cases involve doctors engaging in obviously irresponsible actions, such as operating on the wrong body part or performing surgery while drunk. Many medical malpractice lawsuits arise from situations in which doctors failed to notice obvious signs that a patient needed prompt treatment. Rarely, though, do you hear about medical malpractice claims based on something a doctor said or did not say. In some cases, though, physicians’ lies and misleading statements contribute to the patient’s adverse outcome.  If your doctor lied to you, a medical malpractice lawyer can help you determine whether the lie directly harmed your health, if you can prove that this lie occurred, and if the case is a viable malpractice claim.

What Counts as a Polite Fiction in the Medical Field?

Anyone who tells you that they never lie is lying. Doctors sometimes sugar-coat the truth in order to reduce patients’ anxiety. This type of lie is not worthy of a medical malpractice claim. Similarly, a malpractice claim will not be brought if a doctor tells you that an injection will hurt less than it does or makes you think that your recovery from surgery will be easier than it is. As long as the doctor tells you the side effects that are dangerous enough that, if you experience them, you should call the office or go to the emergency room. Likewise, it is highly unlikely that a malpractice case will be successful if a doctor says, “I’m not worried,” in reference to a risky surgery you are about to undergo;as long as the doctor has obtained informed consent, which means being honest with you about the risks and prognosis.

Failure to Inform Patients About Risks

Before you sign a consent form authorizing a doctor to perform surgery or administer some other treatment, the doctor must inform you of all the possible adverse outcomes and the chances that they will happen to you in light of your medical history. If the doctor does not inform you of the risks, they are misleading you to consent to the treatment. This type of “lie” holds a little more weight and might result in an attorney bringing a malpractice suit. 

Lying About Treatments and Their Effectiveness

It is definitely medical malpractice when a doctor prescribes a treatment to you and tells you that you need it when the doctor knows that you do not. Sometimes doctors prescribe unnecessary treatments in order to bill patients’ insurance companies. Not only is this medical malpractice, it is also the crime of healthcare fraud.

Falsifying Patients’ Medical Records

If a doctor writes false statements in your medical chart, it is also a case of medical malpractice.  For example, the doctor might write that the first time you complained of a certain symptom was in April, when actually you had mentioned it during a previous visit two months earlier.  In other words, the doctor is trying to cover their mistake and is lying not only to you but to any other doctor who reads your medical chart.

Proving some of these lies is another story. But the short answer to the question, can you sue if a doctor lied to you is yes. 

If you would have sought other treatment more quickly if a doctor had been more upfront with you about your risks,contact a medical malpractice lawyer.