Journal of Medical Ethics 46 (5):300-303 (2020)

Ben Davies
Oxford University
There is significant controversy over whether patients have a ‘right not to know’ information relevant to their health. Some arguments for limiting such a right appeal to potential burdens on others that a patient’s avoidable ignorance might generate. This paper develops this argument by extending it to cases where refusal of relevant information may generate greater demands on a publicly funded healthcare system. In such cases, patients may have an ‘obligation to know’. However, we cannot infer from the fact that a patient has an obligation to know that she does not also have a right not to know. The right not to know is held against medical professionals at a formal institutional level. We have reason to protect patients’ control over the information that they receive, even if in individual instances patients exercise this control in ways that violate obligations.
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DOI 10.1136/medethics-2019-106009
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References found in this work BETA

A Right to Do Wrong.Jeremy Waldron - 1981 - Ethics 92 (1):21-39.
Can Broad Consent Be Informed Consent?M. Sheehan - 2011 - Public Health Ethics 4 (3):226-235.
The Right Not to Know: An Autonomy Based Approach.R. Andorno - 2004 - Journal of Medical Ethics 30 (5):435-439.

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Citations of this work BETA

Is the Right Not to Know an Instance of ‘Bad Faith’?Aisha Deslandes - 2020 - Journal of Medical Ethics 46 (5):308-308.
The Right Not to Know: Some Steps Towards a Compromise.Ben Davies & Julian Savulescu - 2021 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 24 (1):137-150.
Is There a Right Not to Know?John Harris - 2020 - Journal of Medical Ethics 46 (6):414-415.

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