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Is honesty always the best policy? Ethical aspects of truth telling

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Physicians have not always believed that patients should be told of their diagnosis. Modern, western medical practice places a high value on providing accurate, truthful information to patients. This is heavily influenced by the commitment to patient autonomy and participation in decision‐making. However, situations arise where truth telling is difficult to achieve, creating a dilemma for the treating doctor. This article discusses aspects of truth telling in a multicultural society. (Intern Med J 2003; 33: 578−580)
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Keywords: autonomy; consent; truth telling; ­multicultural

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Palliative Care Service and Clinical Ethics Service, The Alfred Hospital, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Publication date: 01 September 2004

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