Practice Dilemma: Honesty versus Withholding Information

Practice Dilemma: Honesty versus Withholding Information

Case Scenario

An older citizen woman of Asian origin is admitted to hospital, with characteristically weight loss,pulmonary mass and general weakness. In addition on further examination revealed the woman has pulmonary tuberculosis. The older family then approaches the doctor  and requests that the patient be hidden from the truth her health status. Again they argues that according to their belief in the mainland China, tuberculosis disease was one of the most dangerous , and therefore revelation of this fact amounts to “death sentence”. The scenario brings dilemma to the physician whether to heed to the family requests.  Several cultures have different beliefs on honesty versus withholding information in medical situations. Some Asian families strongly belief that its recommended to withhold medical information from a senior citizen for purposes of respect and protecting them from possible harm. Further in situation whereby a patient and family members belief on withholding information, then a such a belief must be respected and alternative decision making with family sought for. However, there should be no assumption that any patient from Asian origin holds the belief system as described in the case scenario. Furthermore, the doctor should try to conduct detailed investigation to ascertain the belief system. IF the physician confirms that the patient truly holds the belief system about the deleterious nature tuberculosis then, he(physician) should consider withholding the diagnosis information about the patient.

The case scenario elicits ethical and legal dilemma on whether a physician should be honesty to patients to relieve them anxieties and fear(Dauwerse, et al 2011).  Withholding information may take several dimensions, and for different reasons, and which bears diverse consequences. The issue of honesty and withholding information cuts across human communication. People are raised in different settings such as workplaces,clubs,families,churches, and physician/ patient relationship, therefore this concept may bear dfferent configuration.

Withholding information from patient in the modern world may require special attention because it may result to serious harm to some patients when they detected the same.Furthermore, withholding information from a patient amount to undermining of his/her autonomy and mistrust which is significant in the treatment and healing process of patient. Patients also require honesty because they are under pressure and vul

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