In Danger? Up to Half of Patients Facing Life-Threatening Situations Don’t Tell Their Doctor

In Danger? Up to Half of Patients Facing Life-Threatening Situations Don’t Tell Their Doctor

You don’t want to bother you doctor for every sniffle you suffer. But what about domestic violence you experience? Or sexual assault?

Some people run to visit the doctor at the slightest sign of a cold or cough. Others don’t set foot in a medical office for years for various reasons.

While a doctor might not be the first person that comes to your mind as a resource to possibly help you with these experiences, they can. Sharing those personal concerns openly with your doctor can be a good idea. Unfortunately, many of us don’t.

A study done at the University of Utah found that about 40 to 47% of patients don’t tell their doctor they’ve experienced sexual assault, depression, suicidal thoughts, or domestic violence.

For female patients, that percentage point is even higher.

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“For primary care providers to help patients to achieve their best health, they need to know what the patient is struggling with,” said the study’s senior author Angela Fagerlin, Ph.D.

Patients who refrain from telling their doctor vital information are potentially at risk for complications. These include post-traumatic stress disorder and sexually-transmitted diseases, Fagerlin explained.

“These are numerous ways providers can help patients with such as getting resources, therapy and treatment,” she added.

Young females often refrain from sharing all pertinent health information with their doctor, as studies have shown that complaints from this category of patients aren’t always taken as seriously as they are from males, and those who are older.

Communication between doctors and patients needs to improve. In this way, better care to be provided, Fagerlin concluded.

For more on this study, click here.

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