Importance Of Autonomy In Patient Care

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Introduction Autonomy is represented by a person’s right to maintain control over their life and choices. This topic is important to ethical discussions because the patient is at the core of medical ethics (American Medical Association, 2001) and autonomy is so closely related to patient care. However, as with just about anything there is some conflict on this topic. Some consider autonomy to be of the utmost importance as it relates to respect for the patient, while some people think that autonomy must sometimes be restricted to protect patients from being abused or taken advantage of (Alzheimer Europe, 2009). Some people also believe in Mill’s Harm Principle, which states that the only time it is acceptable to interfere with a person’s wishes…show more content…
In fact, it makes sense for them to be involved so they can help ensure that the patient has all of the information they need to make the best decision for him or herself. Some examples of topics in this course in which autonomy was of particular relevance were euthanasia and organ donation. Both of these situations involve a patient who is unable to speak for themselves. In the case of euthanasia, the patient in question may be unconscious and their family may wonder if it would be best to let them pass away instead of prolonging their inevitable death. Alternatively, they may also be alive but very ill and may wish to end their suffering with the help of a doctor, known as physician-assisted suicide. While they are able to communicate this, it may not matter as physician-assisted suicide is illegal in some places and the physician could face legal trouble if they go through with it (Humphry,…show more content…
The case of autonomy related to organ donation is a little different than the others because it involves a person already having made the decision of whether or not they would like their organs to be donated after their death. However, despite this decision having already been made, in Newfoundland—as well as in many other places—the consent of a deceased person’s family still must be given for donation to proceed (Eastern Health, 2014). This means that a person theoretically could have exercised their right to autonomy and consented to the donation of their own organs while they were still living but yet their wishes may not be respected despite them having given their direct consent. It should be considered a severe violation to a person’s freedom and independence to deny their request to make such a meaningful

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