Doctors and Honesty


Over a long period, doctors have been known to be very secretive professionals. Medicine is among the professions where one is supposed to remain highly secretive, rarely disclosing any information to their patients. One of the reasons why doctors and physicians fail to tell their patients the truth even after diagnosing them is to reduce their worries and anxieties. The relationship between the doctor and the patient has, however, changed over time as patients today demand to be told the truth in relation to their diagnosis. While sometimes telling the truth to a patient does more harm than good, it is still an ethical dilemma whether the doctors should remain ignorant about all the implications that are likely to be associated with their honesty, and remain open and true to their patients. Doctors are often finding it a hard choice to make between keeping the diagnosis concealed or opening up and sharing everything with about a diagnosis with their patients.


Doctors have extensive knowledge of different diseases and infections. However, the internet has also provided a convenient and reliable source of all type of information. As a result, honesty among doctors today results in great worries and anxieties since the patients can find out all the information related to their conditions. Patients google such details as their chances of survival and transmission of the different infections that they may be diagnosed. In cases of chronic and terminal diseases, honest doctors who tell their patients where they are suffering from often cause more worries to the patients which worsens their conditions. Doctors should refrain from giving out all the information to their patients especially if it is related to terminal diseases as that results into greater negative implications such as increased worries and anxieties which in turn worsen the state of the patients.


  1. If the honesty of doctors which forces them to share everything about a diagnosis is likely to cause much harm than good, then such doctors should refrain from sharing such truth. Doctors have a broad knowledge of most of the information related to various diagnoses. They tend to understand the chances of survival, the length that such a disease or infection would take to heal or kill a patient, and even whether the condition that a patient suffers from is curable or not. Patients, on the other hand, generally know minimal information to do with various infections. However, the advancements in technology have made it an easier task for patients to find out all the details and information related to any given disease. Some of the information may be traumatizing and the patients may suffer greatly from such elements as worry and anxiety, which only worsens their conditions. By understanding all these details, doctors face a hard time trying to decide whether they should really open up and share the information of diagnosis with their patients or instead they should treat them and keep the rest of the sensitive details especially when it comes to terminal diseases concealed. If sharing the information related to a certain diagnosis will cause more harm than good by increasing the worries and anxieties of a patient, then it would be better for a doctor or a physician to keep the information about such a disease or condition concealed.
  2. Opening up and sharing the details of a terminal or a chronic disease is more likely to affect the patient by making them develop extra worries and anxieties that only worsen their statuses. Sharing information with a patient that they are infected with a terminal disease that has no cure makes them develop a negative attitude about themselves. No one wants to imagine their death and details to do with such diseases make the patients develop fear by imagining that they are not going to recover. A doctor should spend a considerable amount of time trying to study and understand the psychology of their patients, especially those suffering from terminal and chronic illnesses instead of disclosing their diagnosis instantly. They should think of better ways of conveying the information and making the patients understand that there are still chances that they could live more by embracing quality life practices. Such ways may include using a family member to honestly share the information while ensuring that the patient does not get to know about it instantly.
  3. Therefore, doctors should maintain their secrecy and should not share truthful information directly with patients suffering from chronic and terminal diseases. It is the responsibility of a doctor rather than treatment, to give hope to their patients and ensuring that they are psychologically and emotionally stable even though they may be suffering from any types of diseases. As a result, any information that is likely to bring anxiety and worry to a patient should be concealed from them until such a time when they are strong enough to absorb such details. The doctor should, therefore, find a better means of communicating about such information to the patient when they are strong enough by making use of such a person like a family member.


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