John Libbey Eurotext

L'Information Psychiatrique


Ethical conflicts of diagnosis and consent: in psychiatry and prenatal diagnosis Volume 87, issue 7, Septembre 2011

Professeur de psychiatrie de l’enfant et de l’adolescent aux Hôpitaux universitaires de Strasbourg (faculté de médecine, UDS), Hôpital civil, chef du pôle psychiatrie et santé mentale, membre de l’EA 3424 Irist, équipe « éthique et pratiques médicales », 1, place de l’Hôpital, 67092 Strasbourg Cedex, France

Ethics is a practical philosophical discipline, a work of human reason, which leads to questioning in order to assess the values of an action and to indicate how to act in regard to others and oneself. Applied ethics allow to confront conflicting values in a given situation, as a daily practice, with respect to concrete issues and possibly in order to suspend or modify an action. The question of the diagnosis, whether it be in medicine in general, in psychiatry or in special clinical situations such as the prenatal diagnosis, is challenged by many ethical questions which do not only simply arise from the fact that the law obliges the physician to inform the patient of a given diagnosis. This is to the extent that this medical act is an integral part of the doctor-patient relationship and that it questions the very identity of the patient and their history, this is where the ethical conflict lies – and this will be analyzed in our article.