The article by Shelly Schwartz provides a detailed examination of possible cases in which lying to patients is considered normal or accepted. The author focuses on instances where lying to the patient is a part of the support needed to soften the bad news or provide comfort in a stressful situation. Therefore, the article centers on the topic of lying as a component of compassion in the medical field.
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There are several points that stood out for me in the article. First, the author pointed to the fact that while most experts focus on the trustful relationships between the doctor and the patient, they have different levels of participation in the process. Thus, to ensure diagnostic accuracy and successful treatment, the patients are obliged to be truthful. However, due to the power dynamics in relationships between the doctor and patient, the doctors can lie and hide valuable information from the patient. Therefore, I find that in order to build trustful relations and partnerships, the doctors must be equally truthful to the patients despite the power dynamics. Next, the article provided vital information about the state of things before the introduction of the concept of informed consent. It was interesting to know that thirty years ago, a lung cancer diagnosis was implicit due to political and economic interference (Schwartz, 2017). Furthermore, considering the fact that informed consent was introduced not a long time ago, I think that modern moral principles are well-developed and ensure transparency.
In conclusion, the article presented a valuable insight into the reasons why doctors lie to their patients. It appears that in most cases, the doctors lie to show compassion or provide comfort to the patients. However, the author concludes with the statement that it is better for the patients to know the truth and be prepared for their future. I agree that the patients should know the truth to eliminate the fear and mental pressure of an unknown future.
Schwartz, K. S. (2017). Is it ok to lie to patients? In L. Vaughn (Ed.), Bioethics: Principles, issues, and cases (pp. 161-164). Oxford University Press.