The inherent paternalism in clinical practice

Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 20 (3):299-311 (1995)
It is sometimes suggested that the physician should offer the patient “just the facts,” preferably in a “value-free manner,” explain the different options, and then leave it to the patient to make the choice. This paper explores the extent to which this adviser model is realistic. The clinical decision process and the various components of clinical reasoning are discussed, and a distinction is made between the biological, empirical, empathic/hermeneutic and ethical components. The discussion is based on the ethical norms of the public health services in the Nordic countries, and the problems are illustrated by a clinical example. It is concluded that the adviser model is unrealistic. Patient information is important, but the complexity of clinical reasoning makes it impossible to separate facts and value judgments. It is claimed that there is an inherent element of paternalism in clinical decision-making and that clinical practice presupposes a mutual trust between physician and patient
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 9,357
External links
  • Through your library Configure
    References found in this work BETA

    No references found.

    Citations of this work BETA
    Similar books and articles

    Monthly downloads

    Added to index


    Total downloads

    9 ( #128,813 of 1,088,601 )

    Recent downloads (6 months)

    1 ( #69,601 of 1,088,601 )

    How can I increase my downloads?

    My notes
    Sign in to use this feature

    Start a new thread
    There  are no threads in this forum
    Nothing in this forum yet.