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Paradoxical traps in therapeutics: some dilemmas in medical ethics.
  1. U Lowental

    Abstract

    The doctor-patient relationship is examined an emphasis on the comparison between professional and moral principles. Many therapeutic measures have opposite-directed alternative steps with an equal degree of justification, so that no logical preference is attainable and conflicts ensue. Thus patients come for relief and are ordered to endure further pain and discomfort; or weaker individuals exaggerate their complaints hypochomdriacally, and thus need a great deal of understanding, yet paradoxically they are prone to receive less support than stronger ones. Further conflicts arise between our devotion to human well-being and dignity, and our obligation to disrespect some of their rights for self-determination. Furthermore, various dutifully performed doctoring activities run counter to our own social needs and interests; last, but not least, human imperfection colours some of our decisions, putting a definite blemish on their value. In conclusion, physicians must bear the constant burden of paradoxically-opposed alternatives, and they confront pitfalls of worongdoing at every therapeutic step. Their only guidelines are intuition and professional dedication.

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