Cultural Differences in Who Makes Medical Decisions

TitleCultural Differences in Who Makes Medical Decisions
Publication TypeCase Study
Year of Publication1996
AuthorsLadenson, R
Corporate Authorsof Center for the Study of Ethics in the Professions, IIT
Date Published02/1996
PublisherCenter for the Study of Ethics in the Professions, Illinois Institute of Technology
Publication Languageeng
KeywordsDiversity , Informed Consent , MEDICINE
AbstractA recent study of 800 elderly patients by the University of Southern California indicated that immigrants from South Korea and Mexico are far less in favor of letting patients make decisions about medical care than Americans. The study determined that immigrants from these countries attached greater importance to the role of the patient's family than to the individual's right to make a decision for himself or herself. In the study Mexicans and South Korean immigrants were much less likely than Americans to agree that seriously ill patients should be told about their conditions. The prevailing practice in the United States is for physicians to tell patients their diagnoses, even in cases of fatal illness. A federal law,the Federal Patient Self Determination Act of 199 1, requires hospitals to inform patients of their rights to make their own decisions about medical care. Should the practice in American hospitals concerning disclosure to dying patients about the nature of their illnesses be revised to take into account the diverse attitudes toward disclosure of different ultural groups? If so, how, and why? If not, why not?
NotesCase study from the February 3, 1996 Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl. Copyright, Robert Ladenson, Center for the Study of Ethics in the Professions, Illinois Institute of Technology, 1996.
URLhttp://ethics.iit.edu/EEL/Medical%20Decisions%20.pdf
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