Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.

Theodore Roosevelt, The Strenuous Life

By , on March 20, 2011

Current Events, Legal Views, Opinion

On February 18 an article appeared in the Seattle Times entitled, “Dispute Over Cancer Tied to Breast Implants.” A physician, Dr. Phil Haeck, advised his colleagues in a webinar to not describe a cancer caused by breast implants as cancer. He suggested avoiding other factual and descriptive terms such as tumor, disease or malignancy, and instead advocated that doctors use the less fear-inducing term “condition.”

This is very logical if the intent of the medical profession is not dissuading women from sometimes unnecessary surgery that enhances the income of doctors. It also violates an ethical duty. The doctor must  inform the patient  of probable outcomes and risks associated with procedures sought by them or recommended by the doctor. It is very similar to the duty lawyers owe clients, to inform them of their options and gain consent before acting on their behalf. Professionals should never assume their idea of a course of action is best for the patient or client and then proceed to bias their disclosure to get consent. Accurate and complete disclosure is the mark of the professional. Assuming the patient or client is incapable of making a good decision for themselves and not providing full disclosure is arrogant. Lack of frank disclosure should subject the professional to discipline.


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