Arguments in Favor of Withholding This Information From the Patients
There are various arguments that support limited disclosure of information to a patient. The first is a therapeutic privilege. Therapeutic privilege permits a doctor to withhold information when the disclosure is likely to upset a patient making the individual not to participate in a conversation about therapeutic option and consequences rationally. The moral basis for withholding the truth is to enable a doctor to choose what is beneficial to patients without causing them harm. In addition, the doctors are only justified to withhold the information if the message is deemed harmful to an individual hence enabling physicians to uphold instead of violating the ethical principles of non-maleficence and beneficially.
However, the arguments are not valid since there is evidence that indicates that giving information to the patients about their condition such as life-threatening ailments does result in a greater anxiety. Studies suggest that patients that are informed about their situation have better communication with their relatives. In addition, the giving information increases their trust of the health care provider.
The second argument suggests that some patients do not require all the information about their conditions. The argument is built on the assumption that some patients lack the willingness of knowing the truth about their condition. In essence, it is crucial to differentiate between therapeutic privilege and the waiver of the patient. Therapeutic privilege allows a doctor to decide whether information can cause harm to a patient and hence withhold it. On the other hand, patient waiver the decision on whether the information will be harmful is done by the sick individual.
The third argument is based on healthcare providers lack of knowing the whole truth about the condition of a patient. The argument suggests that even though physician might have the whole information, many patients would be incapable of understanding the facts given. As a result, the arguments supports that withholding some of the information to protect the hope of a patient can be considered to be morally upright if the telling the truth is potentially harmful to the patient. In addition, physicians also might be having uncertainties about the prognosis or the best treatment method hence avoiding discussion.
In addition, there are also legal arguments that support truth-telling. In various instances, therapeutic privileges have been rejected by courts. According to the previous court cases involving therapeutic privilege, indicate that individual autonomy is fundamental in law as compared to therapeutic privilege. In addition, according to the law personal autonomy is crucial in relation to patient-doctor conversation. Furthermore, it is the reason behind the judicial rejection of the therapeutic privilege. According to law, disclosing all the information about a patient condition indicate respect for the patient and promotes the wellbeing of an individual. Moreover, according to the arguments made in courts, it furthers patient life decisions. Additionally, people have argued that it reduces the harm risk to the patient and the liability of the physician. Overall the law encourages physicians always to tell the truth to their patient since it is ethically correct
Arguments Against Withholding This Information From the Patient
There are several moral arguments in favor of telling the whole truth to a patient. The first argument is based on respect for autonomy. The argument suggests that ethical principle of autonomy supports the truth telling. Additionally lying to the patient is a breach of the moral principles. In the argument suggest that even though doctors can argue that not all patient have the willingness to know the whole truth, there is very little evidence that is linked to the claim.
The second argument is based on promise-keeping and fidelity obligations of physicians. It suggests that even though some doctors have the good intentions of withholding information like cases where information is likely to cause harm to the patient, the conspiracy of keeping silent about the condition heightens the state of anxiety and fear. Moreover, it might result to addition considerable amount of stress. Furthermore,lying to the patient damages the veracity of a doctor and the trustworthiness of the physician.
The third opinion bases the argument on the trust. The trust between a doctor and a patient should be unquestionable. Doctors should concede with their patient without hindering information. Moreover, both the parties are encouraged, to be honest with one another to increase the efficiency of treatment. Withholding information by doctors hence raises concerns about trust. Moreover, trust cannot be built on dishonesty, so it is moral duty of a physician to have therapeutic conversations without any kind of dishonesty
View That I Agree With
Putting into consideration the case of Mr. Santos and his anxiety, I support the arguments of withholding information. According to the case, the patient was very worried about dying. Moreover, during the interview, Mr. Santos was very anxious and could not remain still. In addition,considering the therapeutic privilege a doctor has and Mr. Santos condition together with therisk involved including death during the treatmentprocedure to be used, it was better for Dr. Baldwin to withhold some of the information particularly death.
According to the nurses, the patient was very worried about death, and this made him very anxious. If the doctor was to confide in him, the levels of risk including death would have made the patient even more anxious. Moreover telling the patient about the death risks would have because more harm. Furthermore, according to the examination and the good health of Mr. Santos, there were low risks of adverse effect. Given the level of anxiety the patient had and the low risk involved withholding information such as death risk was better. In addition,to assuring Mr. Santos that he would not die would have reduced his anxiety. On the other hand telling him the death risk could have caused him to get more anxious and increase his fears.
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