(The Japan Times) – Is it acceptable for doctors to withhold information from their patients? Some claim that it is not only acceptable; it is desirable. Hope, they argue, is critical to aid recovery, and a bleak diagnosis should not be allowed to kill it. In his influential 1803 text Medical Ethics, the English physician Thomas Percival described the doctor’s role as “the minister of hope and comfort to the sick,” noting that at times they should conceal alarming information from their patients.
The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.