Author(s): Jessica H. Muller, PhD; Brian Desmond, MD, San Francisco, CA

Date Authored: September 1, 1992

EthnoMed has been granted permission from the Western Journal of Medicine to place the following article from their journal onto our web site. This material may be protected by Copyright Law (Title 17 U.S. Code).

We are grateful to the Western Journal of Medicine for their cooperation and willingness to make this information available to the EthnoMed audience.


Considerable attention is now being given to ethical conflicts raised by such issues as the disclosure of diagnosis and prognosis, the role of the family in making medical decisions, and the withholding or withdrawing of treatment of terminally ill patients. Already complicated, these issues take on added complexity in contexts where medical professionals and patients have differing cultural beliefs and practices. Ethical dilemmas that develop in multicultural settings have been largely unaddressed. Through the analysis of a case involving the hospital admission and death of a Chinese woman with metastatic lung cancer, we examine some of these dilemmas and their effect on the patient, family, and physicians. Many issues were raised by this case regarding the relationships among ethnic background, bioethics, and medical care.

Full article PDF is in sidebar.

close up of a typewriting with the word "bioethics" typed out on a sheet of white paper
Photo by Trending Topics 2019 (cc license).