2. Honesty from health professionals matters more to patients than almost everything else that they experience when ill. Yet the requirement to be honest with patients has been left out altogether from medical oaths and codes of ethics, and is often ignored, if not actually disparaged, in the teaching of medicine. Many physicians talk about patient deception, as in the use of placebos, in a cavalier, often condescending and joking way, whereas patients often have an acute sense of injury and of loss of trust at learning that they have been duped.
3. The main argument against a policy of deliberate, unvariable denial of unpleasant facts is that it makes communication extremely difficult, if not impossible. Once the possibility of talking frankly with a patient has been admitted, it does not mean that this will always take place, but the who atmosphere is changes. The fact that a patient does not immediately ask does not mean that he has no questions. It is only by waiting and listening, waiting for clues from the patient, that we can gain an idea of what we should be saying and discovery they are individuals from whom we can expect intelligence, courage and individual decisions.
2. Medical ethics require that the doctors are concerned for the well-being of their patients, and this is not constrained by the demand for truthfulness. It is better that the patients are able to enjoy what time they have left free from anxiety and fear. In addition, revealing grave risks, no matter how unlikely it is that these will come about, may act like a self-fulfilling prophesy.
3. A certain amount of lying is necessary in a busy practice. Sitting down to discuss an illness truthfully and sensitively may take much-needed time away from other patients. Also, there are many patients with language problems, the uneducated and the unintelligent, who simply cannot form an informed opinion.