Doctor-Patient Cross-Cultural Dilemma


Q: A 50 y/o Chinese male with a prolapsed disc sees his doctor for back pain uncontrolled by medication. His doctor tells him that surgery is necessary to relieve his pain, but the pt wants to explore other avenues to control his pain, and request s a referral for acupuncture.

His doctor is skeptical about alternative treatments because he feels that treatments advocated by Western medical schools are best because they have been scientifically proven through clinical trials. He sees alternative therapy as placebos, and does not feel it is his duty to recommend them. He refuses to refer the patient for acupuncture.

Is the doctor acting ethically?

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