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Justifying why healthcare professionals lie to patients

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Justifying why healthcare professionals lie to patients

Introduction
Among the virtues that a doctor should have, telling the truth is an important one. Hebert et al. define truth-telling regarding health care, as the practice of being open and straightforward with patients. This means establishing an authentic and genuine relationship with a patient. A healthcare professional should truly involve a patient in making decisions that pertain her health care. Truth telling is transmitting accurate information to the patient. Beauchamp indicates that truth telling is a way of respecting the patient. Once a patient is fully informed about her illness, she can make informed decisions in matters regarding the management of her illness. (Beauchamp pg51)
Truth telling creates trust between the patient and the doctor. It is, however, important to note that not absolute. Telling the truth may at times conflict with other requirements in healthcare. Expectations about truth telling in healthcare may vary from one place to another depending on the different cultures and societies. Some cultures, like some African cultures, advocate for communal personhood rather than autonomy. Some people argue that autonomy cannot be compared with respect for others. It is better to respect people than to be autonomous. A healthcare professional should, therefore, fail to disclose information or limit the amount of information to be disclosed in case the patient authorizes it. (Beauchamp pg59)
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