ETHICAL PROBLEMS: Persuasion or coercion?

June 2005 
Volume 35  Number 6
Pages 20 - 20
  PDF Version Available!

© 2005 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc. Volume 35(6)             June 2005             p 20 Persuasion or coercion? [ETHICAL PROBLEMS: PATIENT AUTONOMY]


After a breast biopsy, my 36-year-old patient was diagnosed with cancer. When her surgeon recommended a total mastectomy to be followed by reconstructive surgery, she became anxious. Every time we talked about the surgery, she seemed ambivalent. So I was shocked when I heard the surgeon telling her what she, the surgeon, would do under these circumstances. Afterward, my patient signed the consent form. Now she seems completely comfortable with her decision and even told me, “I feel so much better now that I've decided to do what Dr. Johnson wants.” Do you think this surgeon's approach was a subtle form of coercion? —J.F., N.C.

The surgeon is ethically obligated to tell the patient what ...

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