Likeable patients may recieve better pain treatment

Likeable patients may receive better care for their pain, according to a study by Belgian researchers. The researchers asked 40 doctors to look at photos of six different patients. Each photo was accompanied by a description such as friendly, egoistic, arrogant, honest, faithful, hypocritical, or reserved. Then the doctors were asked to evaluate the severity of pain in these six patients after they watched a video in which the patients were being evaluated for shoulder pain. Patients with positive descriptions were thought to have more pain than those with negative ones. Most doctors are probably convinced that they treat all patients equally, but this is clearly not true. Doctors and medical students should be informed of these findings so that they constantly remind themselves of the potential bias.

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