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Bioethics

Richard is a 67-year-old man with terminal cancer. He has just had a lover scan and been told to visit his doctor, an oncologist (that is, a cancer specialist whose work focuses on tumors), and get the results. When Richard arrives, the doctor says that there has been no change in his condition, which is, nevertheless, not good. Richard asks the doctor what can be done, and he replies that there is no remedy for this kind of cancer. Becoming somewhat agitated, Richard asks the doctor what we would advise him to do, but the doctor merely repeats his opinion that there is nothing to be done. By this time Richard is both frustrated and upset, and he asks the doctor why he won't care for him and doesn't care about him. In response the doctor gives Richard a presciption, but he makes it clear that the drug is being prescribed only as a psychological crutch--that it will not improve Richard's health. When he finally leaves the doctor's office, Richard feels totally depressed, abandoned, and dehumanized. Do you feel the doctor handled Richard's case well? Is so, why; of not, why not? How would you have handled the situation or advised the doctor to handle it? Discuss both the truth telling aspect of what the doctor said and his methofs of giving out information and relating to his patient.

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I do not know everything...far from it...but I do know that labelling someone with "terminal cancer" is as good as giving them a death sentence. And yet, I am also aware of a number of people who had "terminal cancer" and yet managed to break free from the traditional western medical approach of knives and drugs, and struggled to win back their health. I'd keep this concept in the back of your head throughout the analysis of this case study.

Let's start with what the doctor told the patient. He told him that there was "no change in his condition." How does he know? All ...

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