Doctor-family-patient relationship: The chinese paradigm of informed consent

Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 29 (2):149 – 178 (2004)


Bioethics is a subject far removed from the Chinese, even from many Chinese medical students and medical professionals. In-depth interviews with eighteen physicians, patients, and family members provided a deeper understanding of bioethical practices in contemporary China, especially with regard to the doctor-patient relationship (DPR) and informed consent. The Chinese model of doctor-family-patient relationship (DFPR), instead of DPR, is taken to reflect Chinese Confucian cultural commitments. An examination of the history of Chinese culture and the profession of medicine in China is used to disclose the deep roots of these commitments. The author predicts that the DFPR model will further develop in China but that it will maintain its Chinese character.

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Yali Cong
Peking University

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