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Friday, June 10, 2016

Lay attitudes toward deception in medicine: Theoretical considerations and empirical evidence

Jonathan Pugh, Guy Kahanea, Hannah Maslena & Julian Savulescua
AJOB Empirical Bioethics
Volume 7, Issue 1, 2016

Here is an excerpt:

In these cases, two fundamental principles of medical ethics—the principle of beneficence and the principle of respect for autonomy—appear to conflict (Beauchamp and Childress 2009). While ethicists have long been interested in the conflict between these two principles in cases of deception in medical practice, there is comparatively little empirical evidence concerning whether lay people—the potential targets of such deception—regard deception as morally acceptable across different medical contexts. Empirical studies that have been carried out thus far have concerned patient attitudes toward deception in specific medical contexts, such as cancer treatment (Jenkins, Fallowfield, and Saul, 2001; Yu and Bernstein 2011), palliative care, (Fallowfield, Jenkins, and Beveridge 2002), or more generally the use of placebo treatments in medical practice (Chen and Johnson, 2009; Hull et al. 2013). Similar studies have also been carried out on physician attitudes toward deception in these contexts (Howick et al. 2013; Lynöe, Mattsson, and Sandlund 1993).

However, several important dimensions of deception in medicine have not yet been addressed. Previous empirical studies have not directly compared patient attitudes toward deception across different medical contexts, nor have they investigated the relationship between patient attitudes toward deception in medicine and their attitudes toward truthfulness in nonmedical contexts. It remains unclear whether observed attitudes to deception reflect more general views about deception or whether they are specific to the medical sphere or even to particular medical contexts.

The article is here.