Physician-patient relations: No more models

American Journal of Bioethics 4 (2):16 – 19 (2004)
Currently, the common theoretical models of "preferred" decision-making relationships do not correspond well with clinical experience. This interview study of congestive heart failure (CHF) patients documents the variety of patient preferences for decision-making, and the necessity for attention to family involvement. In addition, these findings illustrate the confusion as to the designation of surrogate decision-makers and physicians in charge. We conclude that no single model of physician-patient decision-making should be preferred, and that physicians should first ask patients how they want medical information and decision-making to be handled.
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