Dr. Misery: A Case Study

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The ethical justification of a placebo as a medicine is a hot topic in the field of biomedical philosophy. Cases involving the prescription of placebos have been argued to suggest that a placebo is a form of deception. A placebo is treatment that has no specific physical or chemical action on the condition being treated, but is given to affect symptoms by a psychologic mechanism, rather than a purely physical one (Lipkin 155). In a specific case, there is a physician who utilizes place medication, Dr. Miracle, and a 45-year-old patient with chronic back pain, Michael Misery. Mr. Misery has explored numerous pain-alleviating treatments and made the decision to visit Dr. Miracle for his consultation. Dr. Miracle reviewed Mr. Misery’s medical…show more content…
Miracle is a form of informed consent. According to two notable philosophers, Faden and Beauchamp, they define real informed consent as a patient’s autonomous action that authorizes a course of action (Faden, et al). Dr. Miracle prescribed a placebo medication to his patient, Michael Misery. Before the placebo was prescribed, Mr. Misery made the autonomous decision to accept the medication, while knowing that there might be “serious side effects.” Mr. Misery is a 45-year-old man with the capacity to make autonomous decisions. His decision was influenced by his need to be alleviated of pain and Dr. Miracle was compelled by his own moral imperative. A moral imperative is the driving force for a person to make an action (Beauchamp 16-17). Dr. Miracle, as a physician, fulfilled his duty in providing medical attention, and Mr. Misery was aware of his opportunity to explore other options; his informed consent. Dr. Miracle did not undermine the physician-patient relationship as his action was driven by the guidelines of informed consent and his belief in improving Mr. Misery’s condition, his moral imperative. If Dr. Miracle had chosen to withhold the information of “serious side effects,” then he would be violating informed consent and his actions would be unjustified. Based on these grounds, Dr. Miracle understands that the physician-patient relationship is important, and his moral duty to provide informed consent was respecting the physician-patient

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