Can deceiving patients be morally acceptable?

  title={Can deceiving patients be morally acceptable?},
  author={Daniel K. Sokol},
  journal={BMJ : British Medical Journal},
  pages={984 - 986}
  • D. Sokol
  • Published 10 May 2007
  • Medicine, Psychology, Philosophy
  • BMJ : British Medical Journal
Daniel K Sokol argues that on rare occasions benignly deceiving patients can be morally acceptable, and he has devised a decision checklist to help doctors facing such a dilemma 

When doctors deceive each other

  • D. Sokol
  • Psychology
    BMJ : British Medical Journal
  • 2010
We need to be honest and open about the deceptions that occur between clinicians so that we can find out why they occur

The ethical foundation for honesty and the focused use of deception in dermatology.

If the benefit for the patient is large and the risk from deception is small, thoughtful application of minor deception could be designed to benefit patients.

Lying to patients: ethical dilemmas of communication in paediatric practice

Three case scenarios involve avoiding investigating a possible paternity dispute, giving false information to pursue on a low cost drug regimen, and not promoting legal action against serious therapeutic misadventure are evaluated based on the definition of deception in Buddhist teaching.

Should non-disclosures be considered as morally equivalent to lies within the doctor–patient relationship?

It is suggested that there is no significant moral difference between lying to a patient and intentionally withholding relevant information, and non-disclosures could be subjected to Bok's ‘Test of Publicity’ to assess permissibility in the same way that lies are.

Honesty, candour, and transparency: clinical implications

The duty of candour is discussed as a significant development in the culture of medicine and a duty that needs to be critically examined in light of both patients’ interests and clinical work environments.

Who Should Implement Force When It's Needed and How Should It Be Done Compassionately?

This case questions the comparative moral permissibility of 2 different uses of force-actions done against a patient's will-in the course of that patient's care: covert medication administration and

The Need to Know—Therapeutic Privilege: A Way Forward

There has been shift in English law relating to the standard of information disclosure towards one set by the test of the reasonable, prudent patient, which necessitates the existence of a therapeutic privilege which enables doctors to withhold information that would usually be given to the patient in order to prevent serious harm.

Community Standards of Deception

  • E. Levine
  • Psychology
    SSRN Electronic Journal
  • 2019
The moral prohibition of deception rests on the assumption that deception robs individuals of their autonomy and their right to truth (Kant, 1785; Bacon, 1872, Bok, 1978). For example, Immanuel Kant

Compassionate Deception: A Conceptual Analysis

The concept analysis of compassionate deception provides a clear operational definition of the phenomenon that provides a standard language on how compassionate deception is characterized and can be communicated in the literature.



On lying and deceiving.

It is argued that an examination of cases shows that lying and deception are often morally equivalent, and that Jennifer Jackson's position is premised on a species of moral functionalism that misconstrues the nature of moral obligation.

Medicine, lies and deceptions

  • P. Benn
  • Philosophy
    Journal of medical ethics
  • 2001
It is argued that lies have a greater tendency to damage trust than does non-lying deception, and it is suggested that since many doctors do believe there is a moral boundary between the two types of deception, encouraging them to violate that boundary may have adverse general effects on their moral sensibilities.

Truth-telling in the doctor-patient relationship: a case analysis

It is concluded that withholding the information from the patients would be ethically permissible and, more generally, that honesty is not always the best policy.

On the morality of deception--does method matter? A reply to David Bakhurst.

It is maintained that lying is wrong in that it endangers trust--and other types of deceiving stratagems do not do so equally, although, in the authors' autonomy-minded culture, they are likely to be so.

Is there an important moral distinction for medical ethics between lying and other forms of deception?

  • R. Gillon
  • Philosophy
    Journal of medical ethics
  • 1993
In this issue of the journal Ms Jennifer Jackson continues her defence of her thesis that whereas 'we all have a strict duty not to lie, we are not all under a duty of this kind not to deceive

Lying: Moral Choice in Public and Private Life

I first read this book a long time ago, so reading it again brings a new perspective after so many years of listening to confessions during interviews. With this work, Bok explores the concept,

Death Foretold: Prophecy and Prognosis in Medical Care

It is argued that physicians and the medical profession as a whole have the duty to prognosticate, and shirking the difficult questions - as most doctors tend to do - advances neither medical knowledge nor the care seriously ill patients receive.

Dissecting “Deception”

  • D. Sokol
  • Philosophy
    Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics
  • 2006
“Dissecting Bioethics,” edited by Tuija Takala and Matti Häyry, welcomes contributions on the conceptual and theoretical dimensions of bioethics. The section is dedicated to the idea that words

Cancer truth disclosure by Lebanese doctors.