Disclosure of terminal illness to patients and families: diversity of governing codes in 14 Islamic countries

Journal of Medical Ethics 37 (8):472-475 (2011)
Abstract
Background The consistency of codes governing disclosure of terminal illness to patients and families in Islamic countries has not been studied until now. Objectives To review available codes on disclosure of terminal illness in Islamic countries. Data source and extraction Data were extracted through searches on Google and PubMed. Codes related to disclosure of terminal illness to patients or families were abstracted, and then classified independently by the three authors. Data synthesis Codes for 14 Islamic countries were located. Five codes were silent regarding informing the patient, seven allowed concealment, one mandated disclosure and one prohibited disclosure. Five codes were silent regarding informing the family, four allowed disclosure and five mandated/recommended disclosure. The Islamic Organization for Medical Sciences code was silent on both issues. Conclusion Codes regarding disclosure of terminal illness to patients and families differed markedly among Islamic countries. They were silent in one-third of the codes, and tended to favour a paternalistic/utilitarian, family-centred approach over an autonomous, patient-centred approach
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