Telling the Patients the Truth

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Telling the patients the truth is a very complicated dilemma that has been argued among many researchers for a long time. Brown (2010) argued that doctors should tell the patients the truth since they are desperately looking for it. However, I can only partially agree with her because I believe that it is better not to inform the diagnosis only if a patient does not want to know it and in case the disease is not dangerous to others. However, the problem is that there is no specific approach that will be good for everyone. Considering the fact, it is possible to state that it takes not only medical aspect, but also moral and ethical. That is why it is the human’s right to be aware of whether he/she is dying instead of being given a false hope in an attempt to ease the last days. A person also has a right to decide whether he/she wants to know the truth or not.

It is possible to outline the arguments for and against telling the whole truth to the patients. The pros can be described with the next arguments. First of all, when there is no need to hide anything from a patient, it is easier for specialists to plan the treatment process. In this case, the patient has a chance of an informed choice of a clinic and a doctor. Second, if the patient knows his/her diagnosis, it is easier to convince him/her of the need for radical treatment. Third, it is often more efficient to deal with specific enemy rather than with the unknown one. Fourth, the patient has an opportunity to receive specialized psychological support, such as group support for patients suffering from cancer or any other disease. Fifth, it is easier for medical personnel to communicate with the relatives who do not have to pretend that everything is all right. Sixth, the patient has the ability to manage personal life. On the other hand, there are the following reasons that oppose telling patients the whole truth: unpredictable consequences of psychological shock; negative impact of self-hypnosis on the patient’s condition as it has been with the situation of one of Theresa’s patients. It had happened when the daughter was misguided with the results of a lab and decided that her mother was getting better (Brown, 2010). Another argument cons is inability to adequately assess personal condition by the patient.


Brown, T. (2010). Telling the patients the whole truth. The New York Times. Retrieved from