Bioethics Blogs

Patient Modesty: Volume 74

Throughout the entire discussion about the issue of patient modesty there is one issue that still hasn’t been resolved.  That issue is: within the “doctor-patient relationship” is there really any balance existing or required between the “needs” of the patient and the “needs” of the physician?  Yes, there is imbalance in favor of the physician with regard to medical education and medical/surgical skills and the need to apply this knowledge and skills effectively for the patient. However, since it is the patient who has the illness and who is about to be diagnosed and treated should the balance with regard to “needs” be loaded on the patient’s side because it is the patient who is ill and because  the patient should have the primary interest and concern which then includes all matters of modesty? The physician’s “needs”, such as facilitation of time spent with the patient, assistance by others (which might include gender other than that of the patient) during interaction with the patient or other physician professional but self-interest demands, should bear far less weight on balance than the patient’s modesty needs. On the other hand, shouldn’t the goal be an attempt to balance the “needs” to provide a safe and effective outcome of any doctor-patient relationship?  And, yes, in that balance some matters of patient modesty might be affected.  I speak as the blog moderator and not as a physician as I present this issue of balance for discussion.  ..Maurice.

Graphic: Balance–from Google Images

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.