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Phil 164 Unit 2 Reading 1

by: Elizabeth

Phil 164 Unit 2 Reading 1 Phil 164H

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About this Document

These notes cover the reading "Truth telling Background" for unit 2 of Philosophy 164
Medical Ethics
J. Dixon
Class Notes
truth-telling, philosophy, philosophy 164, medical ethics, notes
25 ?




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This 1 page Class Notes was uploaded by Elizabeth on Wednesday September 21, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to Phil 164H at University of Massachusetts taught by J. Dixon in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 5 views.


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Date Created: 09/21/16
Phil 164 ­ Medical Ethics I  University of Massachusetts, Amherst  Professor Dixon  Unit 2 Reading 1    Red = against telling full truth always ​Blue = for telling whole truth always  ● Intro  ○ Major moral issue ­ doctors/nurses telling truth to patients  ○ Debates come down to paternalism and the balance between patient autonomy  (independence and rights) and beneficence (acting for the benefit of others)  ● Paternalism and Deception  ○ Nonmaleficence (do no harm) ­ idea in medicine since ancient times  ○ No mention of truth telling until 1980  ○ Some doctors think beneficence > truth­telling (think lying/deceiving is okay) for therapeutic  good of patients  ○ Truth = harmful, depressing  ○ Quote ­ compassionate doctors must lie, without truth is the same as lying  ○ Today ­ less paternalism/more thoughts on patient autonomy  ○ Most doctors value truth and counseling/sensitivity  ○ Questions:  1. Lying ever permissible?  2. Does patient autonomy rule lying out?  3. Are there exceptions to the duty of truthfulness  ○ Story­ woman lied to because she’s so scared of cancer, goes home and dies in weeks  1. Some doctors think that’s okay  a) Truth can be injurious, cause panic, depression, hopelessness, fear  b) Could worsen condition, increase risk of suicide  c) Honesty must be modulated to promote patient welfare  2. Others say it’s wrong  a) Lying can also cause damage  b) Patients would life lives differently if fully informed  c) Robs patients of right to make informed decisions  d) Informed patients are better patients  e) Deception leads to distrust between doctor and patient/family/society  ○ Argument for better telling and after­care (therapy)  ○ Patients don’t want to know the truth  ○ Data says they do  ○ No one saying truth has to be forced upon people who don’t want to know  ○ Patients incapable of understanding truth = too complex  ○ Impossible for them to grasp full truth  ○ Physicians have a duty to try to convey essential/relevant info  ○ “Whole” truth is unnecessary anyway­ patient just needs basic understanding of the nature  and seriousness of condition and benefits/risks of treatments  ○ Patient autonomy must be respected  ○ Right to make informed decisions on how to live and what can be done to their body  ○ Admit might sometimes be necessary to lie but need strong justification and great benefits  for the patient; last re ort


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