Noble lies and therapeutic tricks
DOI link for Noble lies and therapeutic tricks
Noble lies and therapeutic tricks book
Before we begin working out our own account of what truthfulness requires or permits in medical and in nursing practice, let us take some note of what others have said on this subject. We are not interested here in everything that has been said: not everything needs working out. We all agree that certain sorts of deeds are both dishonest and indefensible – the cashier who pockets cash from the till, for example. Naturally, there have been dishonest scamps and scoundrels in medicine and nursing as in all other occupations: quacks peddling bogus cures, doctors or nurses attempting to hide their mistakes by falsifying the records, or stealing drugs and selling them on the black market. Let us label such obvious dishonesty as ‘hands in the till’ dishonesty. Our interest here is not in such undisputed, glaring examples of dishonesty but in the more problematic aspects of what honesty, primarily in communication, requires or permits. Our interest is in the ‘noble’ lie, so-called, not the scurrilous. The lies, deceptive tricks and concealments that I have described in the last chapter may be used by conscientious, well-meaning practitioners who think that in some circumstances such conduct is justified. Which, if any, and why, are indeed justifiable is the object of our enquiry.