n South African Medical Journal - Ethics in medicine : breaking bad news - ethical dilemmas for doctors attending to Jewish patients : forum

Volume 101, Issue 6
  • ISSN : 0256-9574
  • E-ISSN: 2078-5135



Breaking news to a patient of an illness feared to be serious or life-threatening has always caused difficulties, both moral and ethical, among doctors and all other health care providers. Moreover, there are distinct differences in the approach to this topic among various religious and cultural groups. In any diverse society, such as that in South Africa, it is helpful for doctors to familiarise themselves with the practices and philosophies of various groups, faiths and cultures, in matters relating to life and death. This article attempts to define a Jewish approach, and hopefully create better understanding of the subject among all doctors and health-care providers. (To avoid clumsy repetition, the term 'doctor' will hereafter be used and will denote all health care providers.)

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