One of the most complex, ever-changing careers is the medical field. Physicians are not only faced with medical challenges, but also with ethical ones. In “Respect for Patients, Physicians, and the Truth”, by Susan Cullen and Margaret Klein, they discuss to great extent the complicated dilemmas physicians encounter during their practice. In their publication, Cullen and Klein discuss the pros and cons of disclosing the medical diagnosis (identifying the nature or cause of the disease), and the prognosis (the end result after treating the condition). But this subject is not easily regulated nor are there guidelines to follow. One example that clearly illustrates the ambiguity of the subject is when a patient is diagnosed with a serious, life-threatening
Roger Higgs, in “On Telling Patients the Truth” supplies commonly used arguments for paternalistic deception. For the purposes of this paper, paternalism will be defined as, “interference with one’s autonomy or self determination for their own good.” The first argument for paternalistic deception is founded on the idea that medicine is a technical subject where there are very few guarantees (613). Thus, Higgs supplies the argument that not only is it impossible for a patient to understand the true breadth of their diagnosis and prognosis, but additionally that medical predictions are not medical truths. The second argument for paternalistic deception comes from the belief that patients do not actually want to know the truth about their condition, and could suffer from worse health outcomes if they are told the truth (614, 615).
The medical Profession recognizes that patients have a number of basic rights. These include but are not limited to the following: the right to reasonable response to his or her requests and need and needs for treatment within the hospital's capacity. The right to considerate, respectful care focused on the patient's individual needs. The right of the patient to make health care decisions, including the right to refuse treatment. The right to formulate advance directives. The right to be provided with information regarding treatment that enables the patient to make treatment decisions that reflect his or her wishes. The right to be provided upon admission to a health care facility with information about the health care provider's policies regarding advance directives, patient rights, and patient complaints. The right to participate in ethical decision making that may arise in the course of treatment. The right to be notified of any medical research or educational projects that may affect the patient's care. The right to privacy and confid...
By ruling in the favor of Mr. Quinlan, the New Jersey Supreme Court allowed for patient autonomy to be exercised by an incompetent patient. Though the legal implications of this decision vary from state to state, medical ethics now had to incorporate the possible refusal of a once competent patient unable to give that refusal. This concept is not one that was totally unexpected by the medical community. By developing machinery capable of sustaining life even in the case of severe deficit, it is only natural that medical ethics would need to adapt, growing to accommodate this new realm of consideration. Just as a competent person has the right to decide “how much to struggle, how much to suffer, how much bodily invasion to tolerate, and...
... event arises and it was due to lack of assessment of genuine comprehension. I think the best system of obtain consent would incorporate a regulated system that accommodated each institution and their requirements, but also equally weighed the importance of true understanding of facts and realization of the patient’s capacity to make decisions. But even if this was established as standard practice, there would still be the issue of how the assessment is made and how accurate it is due to other influences i.e. current injury status or medications needed for full psychological and or conceptual functioning. There could also be an issue of how to regulate such a subjective issue; each physician is going to have different ethical views and this will inevitably influence how he/she assess the patient and their ability to make the best decisions concerning their health.
(15) President’s Commission for the Study of Ethical Problems in Medicine and Biomedical and Behavioral Research, Deciding to Forego Life-Sustaining Treatment: Ethical, Medical, and Legal Issues in Treatment Decisions (Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1983), 69.
In today’s society with the blogs, the gossip sites and the other forms of social media, confidentiality is a thing of the past. However, for, physicians and other health professionals, they are held to a higher standard to maintain a level of ethics and confidentiality for their patients. Confidentiality is a major duty for a health professional, but is there ever a time to where it is okay to tell what a patient says in confident? What if the patient is a minor, or a senior citizen or someone who is mentally challenged? What if a patient is being abused or wants to commit suicide? Does it matter if it is a nurse, or a dentist, or a psychologist or is all medical professional held to the same moral standard? What roles does a consent form or Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act plays in the medical world in being confidentiality? I would like to explore Confidentiality and the moral effects it has on the health profession.
Although a mentally competent patient’s right to refuse treatment is widely and obviously accepted, doctors, in most cases, assume control over the patient’s length of hospitalization and type of treatment. A patient who refused a life-sustaining treatment was considered to have requested something that could not be done. This view changed during the 1970s, when the right to refuse treatment was established by various court cases. Today the dispute over patient autonomy extends beyond the right of treatment refusal to issues of euthanasia and assisted suicide.
Not all cases is patient autonomy the most important thing to respect and honor. There will always be situations where Medical paternalism is justified. Justifiable paternalism in a medical perspective is prolonging patients’ lives allowing them to exercise their autonomy. Failing to respect a patient’s treatment requests or denials is a violation of the autonomy at that point in time during their illness. While the previous statement is true, the medical professional is violating a patient’s future autonomy. For this reason, medical professionals have the right to act paternalistically, therefore medical paternalism is justified by means of future autonomy and obligations to promote patient