Does the wish of a patient over-rule medical knowledge?
"The wishes of a patient do not over-rule medical knowledge!" (Patientenwunsch steht nicht über medizinischem Wissen) This was one brave conclusion drawn in a discussion about homeopathy during a recent German radio programme. Specifically, the discussion was about the pros and cons of a leading paediatric hospital of the Ludwig Maximilian Universitaet (LMU) Munich offering homeopathy to its patients (they also run a course in homeopathy which we discussed previously). The wishes of a patient does not over-rule medical knowledge! This sentence made me think. Is it correct? An interesting question with ethical dimensions! The short answer is NO, I believe.. Patients can always refuse to have a given therapy, if they so wish. Or they might opt for one evidence-based therapy instead of another. And in certain circumstances such wishes may well be completely against the current best medical knowledge. But this is probably where the dominance of the patient's wishes over medical knowledge
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