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Where's the Evidence?Debates in Modern Medicine$
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William A. Silverman

Print publication date: 1999

Print ISBN-13: 9780192630889

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780192630889.001.0001

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Therapeutic mystique

Therapeutic mystique

(p.17) 4 Therapeutic mystique
Where's the Evidence?

William A. Silverman

Oxford University Press

This chapter presents a 1988 commentary on the role of the placebo effect in treatments. Patients appear to respond best when they ‘have faith’ in their doctors. Doctors also seem more effective when they ‘believe’ in the treatments they prescribe. It argues that the therapeutic mystique creates an ethical dilemma when a new treatment is proposed to replaced the trusted standard. It says that it is time to question the high moral status accorded an individual doctor's treatment preference, especially when the choice is backed by weak evidence.

Keywords:   medical care, medical treatment, placebo, ethics

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