Placebo Effects and the Ethics of Therapeutic Communication: A Pragmatic Perspective

Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal 26 (1):79-103 (2016)
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Abstract

Doctor–patient communication is a crucial component in any therapeutic encounter. Physicians use words to formulate diagnoses and prognoses, to disclose the risks and benefits of medical interventions, and to explain why, how, and when a therapy will be administered to a patient. Likewise, patients communicate to describe their symptoms, to make sense of their conditions, to report side effects, to explore other therapeutic options, and to share their feelings. Throughout the history of medicine, the ethics of the doctor–patient communication has been traditionally grounded on considerations of paternalistic beneficence and nonmaleficence. In this respect, it was no different from the ethics regulating..

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Franklin Miller
Columbia University

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