Lying to doctor about medical history: Why do patients withhold information?

You want to know why she patients hide critical medical history from doctors and nurses? Then worry no more, please read this article written by a Nigerian Doctor.

Nigerians have lied about their LMP(Last Menstrual Period), lied about their HIV status, treated their child for two weeks at home and then come and tell you (the doctor) “it all suddenly started yesterday night”… is it history of covid they will now evaporate from their mouth and even their mind.

Nigerian patients will go to three different hospitals and decline surgery, then come to you (another doctor) as a new patient and wait till you finish spending time and energy taking history and making diagnosis after several tests have been carried out and you now tell them “madam your child needs surgery ” before they will pull you to one side and say “doc you are the third person saying this surgery thing, is it really necessary?”🤦🏽‍♀

Why do patients withhold information?
Why do patients withhold information?

They will have hypertension and diabetes and have regular check ups for five years then default on their medications and checkups and present one year later very ill and tell you that you are the first person telling them what hypertension is. 🤷🏽‍♀

The tendency of most Nigerian patients is to withhold information. The reasons vary.
Some fear the more info they give you the more you will charge them.

Some fear that you will blame them (especially those scent leaf/bitterleaf enema and palm kernel oil administrating mothers).

Some are in self denial of their ailments and are hoping that by not telling you, you will give a less alarming diagnosis.

Some want to test your clinical acumen.
Some believe history is not important “just check my body and treat me”.

Some fear that you will diagnose the ailment they have hidden from their spouse for years.
Some are just plain possessed.🙆🏽‍♀️

While one may make an argument for fear of stigmatization in this covid -19 era, what is the gain of one sneaking in “unstigmatized” then dying quickly in an open ward because they were treated as a case of malaria when indeed they had covid? If you stand a risk of having covid..would you not want to know???

What we need to know is that lying to your health provider not only wastes precious time and puts the doctors and other health workers at risk, it wastes your own time, money and MARKEDLY reduces your chances of full recovery. There is no part of the habit that ends well.

Early disclosure leads to early intervention and greater chances of recovery and if per chance things still go awry and you dont make it, you will not take peoples’ lives/livelihood/breadwinners/loved ones down along with you.


First shared Facebook by Obiosa Olisa


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