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NBME 23 Answers

nbme23/Block 1/Question#36

A medical student is caring for a 72-year-old man ...

Let me get the resident physician so we can go over the results.

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A medical student shouldn't be the one giving someone a cancer diagnosis. This is a really sensitive issue and the results should be given by someone with higher authority like a resident or attending. At the same time, you shouldn't lie to the patient and say that the results aren't back yet if they are. Best thing to do is deflect the conversation and follow up with the resident..

drdoom  It isn’t so much “someone with higher authority” as it is someone with a license! Without a license, an individual is not permitted legally to provide clinical interpretations, as that would constitute the (unlawful) practice of medicine! +11  




How come you couldnt say "I dont know, but the oncologist will be seeing you later today"? Is it because technically you are ~lying~ to the patient?

drdoom  Not “technically” but actually! To say “I don’t know” when you *do* know is as lyin’ as it gets! Just remember, before a state issues you a license to practice medicine in their backyard, they look to the National Board of Medical Examiners and ask, “Should we trust this person to practice medicine here?” The NBME is in the business of telling states, “Yes, we believe this person knows enough to practice morally and competently.” Answer ethics questions with this in mind. +1  
pseudo_mona  Besides technically lying, it also probably isn't a good idea to drop the word "oncologist" to a patient before they hear they have cancer, especially as a student who can't answer any further questions about the biopsy results. +3