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ETHICS IN MEDICINE   University of Washington School of Medicine

Truth-telling and Withholding Information:
Case 2

An 80-year-old Asian woman is hospitalized with weight loss, generalized weakness, and a pulmonary mass. Work-up reveals that she has pulmonary tuberculosis. Her family approaches the physician and asks that the patient not be told, stating that in her upbringing in mainland China tuberculosis was considered fatal and to tell her would be like giving her "a death sentence."

Should you respect the family's concerns?

Discussion

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