Doctors and patients are never supposed to lie directly to each other. (No surprise there. What is surprising is that this expectation is a fairly modern development. Even a few decades ago, honesty on the doctor’s part, at least when it came to divulging the details of a bad illness, was generally considered unnecessarily cruel. In some countries it is still good medicine to gloss over the bad parts.)
Of course, rare indeed is the examining room where complete mutual honesty prevails. We all withhold, maneuver, and swallow various impolitic thoughts. And then, when a third party enters the picture, all bets are off.
Sometimes the third point in the triangle is a patient’s friend or relative, sometimes an employer. Often it’s the medical insurer, toward whom both patients and doctors are individually bound by strong legal and ethicalties. More.