Document Type

Journal Article

Date of this Version



Generalizations about patients without careful attention to their cultural background, their values and norms could lead to a number of ethical crises. The informed consent, disclosure of diagnosis and prognosis, and discussions of termination of treatment are reflections of Western cultural values. They represent respect for autonomy of clients and respect for openness in communications. For patients from other cultures such practices have different meanings that may violate their own values. The result of such conflict in practices and meanings can render the relationship between patients and health care personnel difficult at best and distrustful at worst.


Meleis, A.I., & Jonsen, A. (1983). Ethical crises and cultural differences. The Western Journal of Medicine, 138(6), 889-893.




Date Posted: 26 August 2009