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Health Spiritual Med Ethics 2021, 8(2): 133-140 Back to browse issues page
A New Perspective on Challenges in Truth-telling to Patients
Jannat Mashayekhi , Saeedeh Saeedi tehrani , Mohsen Rezaei Adaryani
Department of Medical Ethics, School of Medicine, Iran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
Abstract:   (487 Views)
Background and Objectives: Patient autonomy is a recognized principle in modern medical
ethics, and truth-telling to the patient; thus, it holds special importance for its contribution to this
principle. In practice, however, several challenges emerge that can lead to different responses.
This difference is more marked in studies conducted in the Eastern and Muslim countries due
to variations in cultural and religious beliefs. Truth-telling is a challenging concept respecting
placebos, medical errors, and delivering bad news on diagnosis and treatment to patients.
Methods: This study employed an unsystematic review of library and online sources, as well as
databases, including Google Scholar, Springer, PubMed, Ovid, and relevant Persian papers in an
attempt to provide an overview of this concept and study the Islamic view, particularly the Shi’ite
perspective, and the predominant approaches employed in Muslim countries.
Results: Islamic scripture and hadith strongly advocate honesty and truth-telling. However,
maleficence to patients and exposing them to serious harm is unallowed, and withholding the
whole or a part of the truth; even lying is justified in extreme cases.
Conclusion: Essentially, the philosophy of medicine is based on helping patients and reducing
their pains. Considering the unique condition of each patient, a perfect solution cannot be
prescribed for all of them and the same strategy to manage all cases. The emphasis on truth-telling
in the Islamic view is no less than other schools of thought. However, if disclosing the truth may
expose the patient to certain, serious biopsychological risks, denying the whole or a part of the
truth might be advisable; even in frequent cases, lying can be justified to protect the patient.
Keywords: Physician-patient relationship, Truth disclosure, Muslims, Delivering bad news, Error disclosure
Full-Text [PDF 795 kb]   (248 Downloads) |   |   Full-Text (HTML)  (163 Views)  
Type of Study: Review Article | Subject: Special
Received: 2020/07/1 | Accepted: 2021/08/1 | Published: 2021/11/10
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Mashayekhi J, saeedi tehrani S, Rezaei Adaryani M. A New Perspective on Challenges in Truth-telling to Patients. Health Spiritual Med Ethics. 2021; 8 (2) :133-140
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