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Doctors Requesting Unrelated Information - How do You Handle It?

When I see a new neurologist I’ve almost always been asked a couple questions like: do I drive, do I operate heavy machinery, etc.

I have never been told why they were requesting this information and I’m curious to hear how others have handled this or encountered this.

I have also had doctors directly tell me I need to follow my state’s DMV rules. It starts to feel more like I’m in a court room rather than being seen by a medical professional.

Does anyone know if neurologists in some states are required to ask these questions (I know some states require them to report conditions to the DMV).

  1. Anyone driving on the road puts someone at risk. Doctors aren’t asking this question to patients of ADHD or all medical conditions.

    I’ve looked at the transportation code for my state and there’s nothing that requires a doctor to ask this. I understand they may have a responsibility through the interpretation of responsibility to public health and ethical standards. However the research regarding epilepsy and driving is mixed and does not actually supports whether or not an epilepsy diagnosis increases the risk of a car accident. NHTSA in their guidance to states about epilepsy directly acknowledges this lack of conclusive evidence.

    it seems irresponsible and unethical for doctors to ask for information without disclosing what they may do with it - that they may share with others.

    Taking into account epilepsy is significantly different for each individual a doctor can still advise a patient on their ability to drive without necessarily requesting whether or not they drive and what their license information is.

    If a doctor is asking me for information that they plan to or have the obligation to share with others and they do not tell me, that strikes me as very unethical. And detrimental to the patient relationship.

    1. It's concerning when doctors ask for information without disclosing how they plan to use it. Maybe ask your doctor why is this an important question. Transparency is important in any relationship-especially patient-doctor relationship.

      Additionally, the research on epilepsy and driving doesn't conclusively support that an epilepsy diagnosis increases the risk of car accidents. However, doctors want to know for their information.

      My doctor asks me this question as well.

  2. Hi there,

    Doctors have to ask if you drive or not. For example, if you are driving you can put others at risk on the road. There are some states that are required to report you to the DMV.

    Here are a few articles

    Derra Howard
    Epilepsy Team

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