The Ethical Implication of Informed Consent — A Case Study of “Family Decisions” in Contemporary China
Keywords:醫療決策, 家庭決策, 倫理策略
LANGUAGE NOTE | Document text in Chinese; abstract also in English.
This essay points out that informed consent in China today is often replaced by the “family decision” model, which is designed to embody Confucian family ethics and maximize the benefit of family involvement in medical decision making. The author, a physician, uses a specific case he encountered when treating an elderly woman with late-stage colon cancer. Because the patient did not know the whole truth of her condition, most of the medical decisions regarding her treatment were made by her children. Ideally speaking, a “family decision” means that both the patient and his/her close family members will be involved in the decision-making process. Yet, the author’s experiences show that in most cases, decision-making responsibilities shift from the patient to the family, especially when the patient is an elderly parent. Theoretically speaking, the Confucian ethics of humanness (ren) and filial piety (xiao) support family as the most appropriate authority for medical decisions. However, in reality, the author finds that this could be problematic when family members hide medical information from the patient—sometimes with cooperation from the physician. The essay recommends that more respect and autonomy should be given to the patient if the “family decision” policy is truly implemented
DOWNLOAD HISTORY | This article has been downloaded 202 times in Digital Commons before migrating into this platform.
How to Cite
Copyright (c) 2017 International Journal of Chinese & Comparative Philosophy of Medicine
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
The CC BY-NC 4.0 license permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited and not used for commercial purposes. Copyright on any article is retained by the author(s) and the publisher(s).