Intended for healthcare professionals

Analysis

“Informed choice” in a time of too much medicine—no panacea for ethical difficulties

BMJ 2016; 353 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.i2230 (Published 09 May 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;353:i2230

Re: “Informed choice” in a time of too much medicine—no panacea for ethical difficulties

I really enjoyed the article and agree with the premise.

Deciding if there is more harm or benefit to giving a diagnosis is certainly a challenging question. It certainly may help someone take a problem more seriously if this is required. It helps them access resources that would be appropriate, although someone doesn't need to be told they have depression to benefit resources for depression.

One tool that may help here is the assessment of 'ideas, concerns, expectations'. If someone has come wanting to know what is wrong for example, then giving them a diagnosis is appropriate. If someone has come wanting some form of a management plan or reassurance about a symptom, then here it may be less appropriate to give a diagnosis. Perhaps giving them a diagnosis is giving them something they have not asked for. Of course this is only one factor in many when making these very challenging decisions.

Competing interests: No competing interests

02 July 2016
Ben Allen
GP ST3
vincent road, sheffield