Mgn3220 C.

asked • 03/13/21

Deception as Therapy:

A 46-year-old man, coming to a clinic for a routine physical check-up needed for insurance purposes, is diagnosed as having a form of cancer likely to cause him to die within six months. No known cure exists for it. Chemotherapy may prolong his life for a few months, but will have side effects the physician does not think warranted in this case. In addition, he thinks this therapy should be reserved for patients with a chance of recovery or remission. The patient has no symptoms giving him any reason to believe he is not perfectly healthy. He expects to take a short vacation in a week.

For the physician, there are now several choices involving truthfulness.

  1. Ought he to tell the patient what he has learned or conceal it?
  2. If asked, should he deny it?
  3. If he decides to reveal the diagnosis, should be delay doing so until after the patient returns from vacation?
  4. Finally, even if he does reveal the serious nature of the diagnosis, should he mention the possibility of chemotherapy and his reasons for not recommending it in this case?
  5. Or should he encourage every last effort to postpone death?


Which option would you choose and why?

1 Expert Answer


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