Jackson case highlights difficulty in saying no to patients

Even if you're a top physician with a world-famous clientèle, it's difficult to say no to a celebrity of Michael Jackson's magnitude, a problem that may have lead to an untimely death for the multi-drug-using pop star.

The truth is, however, that doctors may have difficulty saying no to patients even if they're not massively famous or incredibly wealthy. Jackson's death has had physicians examining their practices a bit more closely to consider just how often they give in to inappropriate patient requests, and just as important, why they do it, experts say.

Cynics might suggest that physicians agree to do what patients want because they want to keep their business, and that is sometimes a factor in their decisions, some doctors concede. But more often, physicians simply want to make people feel comfortable, and that instinct goes awry. Or they just don't want to spend the time arguing with patients whose minds are made up.

Among the most common situations where physicians give in to patient demands when it's probably not a good idea is when they prescribe antibiotics, even in cases of the common cold, or offer advertised drugs that may not be that patient's best option. Doctors also have trouble refusing to approve long lists of tests and treatments for patients who are near death and are extremely unlikely to recover.

To learn more about this problem:
- read this CNN.com piece