Ruiping Fan and Benfu Li’s Journal Article Regarding Telling Patients their Health Status

Ruiping Fan and Benfu Li’s Journal Article Regarding Telling Patients their Health Status

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Should a doctor tell the truth directly to the patient regardless of the family’s wishes not to do that? Or in contrast, should the doctor simply tell the truth to the patient prior to his or her family? Ruiping Fan and Benfu Li’s journal article primarily focuses on whether or not a physician should tell truth to the patient. From a personal opinion, patients have the right to know their state of health. To be honest with a patient, despite his or her family's wishes, before telling the family ultimately depends on many things, such as the patient's age, medical conditions and circumstances, and religious beliefs.
First of all, if the physician is talking with a middle-aged man about his state of health before talking with his family, the patient might result in depression, can regret or even feel the need to give up treatment. If the doctor is talking with an elderly patient about his or her condition, it is likely that the older patient will choose not to pursue the treatment because his or her life is lived and there is no purpose to agonize and hurt relatives in the process of treatment. A possible exception is if a doctor’s patient is a child. For a doctor, it is not necessarily important to be completely honest directly with the young patient without talking with family first. This is mainly because the child is not very educated to understand the severity of their condition or the potential outcomes. In addition, the child cannot make decisions independently. It is important for a physician to talk with a child’s parents or guardians prior to discussing the child’s condition with the child itself. This allows the physician be certain that after a diagnosis, the child will be less likely to be psychologically traumatized. ...

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...However, this just worsens the situation because the patient may unknowingly transmit the disease to others.
To conclude, I think that physicians should tell the truth directly to the patient, even against family requests. Yes, there are some exceptions, of which are associated to the patients’ age, disease, and religious beliefs that makes doctors respect family wishes. Ruiping Fan and Benfu Li say that Confucian Chinese practice encourage doctors to hide the truth from the patient if his or her family thinks that it should be hidden. They say that it “…is most important for one [patient] to know everything and make medical decisions by oneself, but to have the love and interdependence of family members” (pg. 71). In agreement, a patient is entitled to know his or her condition, despite family wishes, but should also receive the support and care from their family.

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