Spread the Facts and Not the Gossip
With the current heated discussions around the United States about healthcare reform, there is one ethical theme that needs to be recognized by those on all sides of the healthcare debate: facts should be spread and not gossip. To do otherwise is to diminish the benefit of debate. Facts, as they stand, are also not immune from misinterpretation. In a debate facts must be presented in the context of how the facts were developed and in the context of how the facts are going to be used. Anything less than that twists the facts and converts them into simply gossip.
When physicians inform their patients about the risks and benefits of a procedure or treatment, the facts presented must be pertinent to the clinical situation and how the facts are presented to the patient should be in the context which is for the best interest of the patient and for the best interest of nobody else, including that of the physician. That is part of the trust that the patient should have for the physician.
As a reader goes through the comments to some of the topic threads on this blog, one can find numerous examples where the writers, out of exasperation or anger of the situation presented and out of sheer desperation to spread the word will take the facts and turn them into gossip by taking the facts out of the context from where they were obtained and then use those facts the out of context relative to the ongoing topic. Thus gossip is created which contributes nothing to rational discussion.
Let us all be careful and use facts when discussing healthcare reform in the context of how the facts were originally documented. Let all physicians be careful to disclose the facts in a context that serves the patient in a beneficent way and without other motives. And let all writers to this blog take care to present facts in the context of how the facts were developed, to reinforce rational discussion and not to degrade it. ..Maurice.
Graphic: Photograph, taken by me, of a sign originally stating “Spread the Gospel, Not the Gossip” but digitally modified by me using Picasa 3. If anyone wants to debate whether Gospel is Facts as compared with Gossip, do so, but that is another topic and what you write be sure to keep the words in context!