Journal of Medical Ethics 46 (5):306-307 (2020)

Authors
Lisa Dive
University of Technology Sydney
Abstract
In healthcare broadly, and especially in genetic medicine, there is an ongoing debate about whether patients have a right not to know information about their own health. The extensive literature on this topic is characterised by a range of different understandings of what it means to have a RNTK,1–9 and how this purported right relates to patient autonomy. Ben Davies considers whether obligations not to place avoidable burdens on a publicly funded healthcare system might form the basis for an obligation to acquire relevant health information, and hence refute the RNTK. He also makes the interesting argument that an obligation to know does not necessarily limit the RNTK. Davies summarises the more prominent arguments against the RNTK, including harm-to-others arguments that focus on potential harms to individuals related to the patient. However he then considers the RNTK in the context of the obligations that people have to each other within a publicly funded healthcare system. So rather than focusing on harms to specific individuals, Davies’ argument is instead based on the wrong of needlessly consuming public healthcare resources. If a person avoids health-related information and thereby exacerbates their health problems, this makes them more complex and expensive to treat. Davies argues that this constitutes …
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DOI 10.1136/medethics-2020-106108
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Ignorance, Information and Autonomy.John Harris & Kirsty Keywood - 2001 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 22 (5):415-436.
Genetic Ignorance, Moral Obligations and Social Duties.Tuija Takala & Matti Häyry - 2000 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 25 (1):107 – 113.

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