Ethical Decision Making by Family Doctors in Canada, Britain and the United States
Social Science & Medicine
URL with Digital Object Identifier
Family doctors in Canada and the U.S. and general practitioners in England and Wales were sent a questionnaire containing six cases that raised moral issues. The doctors were asked to select the most appropriate course of action for each case as well as reasons for that decision. The ethical problems concerned how much information to divulge to patients, how extensively a physician should become involved in the lifestyles of patients, and how to deal with a possible family problem. The respondents selected different courses of action for the cases. More U.S. than Canadian or British physicians chose to divulge information, while more British than Canadian or U.S. physicians chose not to become involved in patients' lifestyles. Physicians who chose to divulge information were likely to be young, male, live in a small community, and have no academic affiliation. Physicians who chose not to become involved in lifestyle issues were likely to be young, church attenders, and in group practice in a small community.