J Med Ethics 3:129-132 doi:10.1136/jme.3.3.129
  • Research Article

Tacit components of medical ethics: making decisions in the clinic.


When a patient visits his doctor there is, as well as a spoken dialogue, also an unspoken, or tacit, dialogue between them. This may not be evident unless that dialogue breaks down when the psychological or moral terms of reference of each are seen to be different. The author of this paper tries to elucidate the framework in which physician and patient think, and in so doing allow an understanding of why the physician may appear to be rigid and authoritarian in his dealing with his patients and the patient uncooperative.