When prescribing pain medication, some physicians may “undertreat” a patient if they sense their patient may have a propensity for addiction.

Published by Jeannie R. Ferrell

Dec 8, 2022

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Deception comes in many forms and include lying (“making a false statement with intention to
deceive” -Psychology Today, 2020), pretense (making something appear true that is not the
case), and intentional non-disclosure (failure to disclose something that is known – Merriam
Webster Dictionary, 2020). In the healthcare professions, ethical dilemmas surface that require
the healthcare professional to be upfront with the patient. Making moral decisions as it relates to
patient care can at times be quite difficult. It can be a challenging situation where someone is
facing a life-threatening illness and the physician decides to intentionally non-disclose or
withhold information that he or she feel may be more detrimental to the patient’s well-being. Is it
right for a physician or practitioner to withhold such information from a patient? Does it hurt or
help the patient in the long run? The Hippocratic Oath taken by physicians is given as core
principles to serve as a guide that inform their medical practice, which includes the moral
principles of non-maleficence, beneficence, and autonomy. Non-maleficence is the principle that
physicians are obligated to embrace to “do no harm.” Therefore, the actions or practices of a
physician are right as long as no harm comes to the patient. Additionally, the harm should not
outweigh the benefit. Beneficence, although at times is seen as similar to non-maleficence, refers
to “the act of helping others,” or acting in a way that promotes the well-being of others. The
principle of autonomy involves allowing a competent patient to choose or refuse medical
treatment (Munson & Lague, 2017). As Christian health professionals, while the Hippocratic
Oath is to be adhered to, there is a greater calling by God to do what is right in every situation
according to His requirements.
INSTRUCTIONS
Synthesize course readings and outside research into an articulate and cogent response to the
following question: “Are there occasions in the delivery of health care when deception is
warranted?”
 Length of the assignment: 5 pages and should be organized according to the following
format using Part I-Part IV as the subheading:
Part I – Review the following scenarios of medical deception and rank them with
commentary regarding appropriate behavior (most appropriate to least appropriate), if
ever, by a physician.
1. A physician intentionally submits faulty information to an insurance company in
an attempt to help a sick patient pay for needed healthcare services.
2. A physician recognizes the patient has psychosomatic symptoms and prescribes a
placebo pill in hopes that the emotional relief of the placebo will help the patient
recover (thus saving the patient from possible treatments which would be more
invasive and/or extensive).
3. A physician does not provide full disclosure of a surgical procedure because
he/she suspects the patient is not emotionally stable enough to handling all the
details of the surgery, treatment and recovery.
HLTH 551
Page 2 of 2
Part II – Review the following scenarios and rank them with commentary regarding a
physician’s ethics (most ethical to least ethical). Include at least 1 professional
resource you used when ranking physician ethics.
1. Physicians accept pharmaceutical perks if they recommend a specific drug for
treatment.
2. When prescribing pain medication, some physicians may “undertreat” a patient if
they sense their patient may have a propensity for addiction.
3. A physician treating a patient with a terminal illness fails to disclose secondary
ailments/diseases which may arise (in an attempt to protect the patient’s
emotional stability and will to fight).
Part III – Recount an occasion from your personal experience of being lied to/misled
by a health care clinician and, in retrospect, comment on the correctness of this
decision. If this never happened in your life, outline a scenario you have heard about
where deceit was part of a health care decision. Comment on whether or not this
deception was beneficial to the patient.
Part IV – Provide a rationale (in terms of biblical commandments, guidelines, or
inferences) on whether or not a Christian clinician should deceive a patient.
A title page and reference section should be included as part of the assignment
however, these are not to be counted as part of the 5 pages. The assignment should be
double-spaced, use 1-inch margins and must be in Times New Roman 12-point font.

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