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 is to prevent harm to others, or prevent harm to the patient if they make the decision without all of the facts (Alzheimer Europe, 2009). It is hard to find a balance between wanting to protect a loved one and wanting to preserve their independence. This, plus the fact that some medical issues—particularly those relating to mobility—require sufferers to always be dependent on others to some extent, gives a sort of grey area regarding the importance of autonomy. The goal of this paper is to argue that the value of autonomy surpasses any downfalls and that as long as no one else is getting hurt, the value of personal independence surpasses any downfalls.
However, this is not to say that family members and doctors should not be involved in a patient’s decisions regarding their care. In fact, it makes sense for them to be involved so they can help ensure that...
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...te that show that they are able to make decisions. These are: appreciating that they have a choice in their treatments, understanding their diagnosis and what it means to their future, what the effects of their treatment options are and finally, maintaining this state over time (Alzheimer’s Association National Board of Directors, 2011). The Association says that even people with severe Alzheimer’s or dementia experience lucid times that allow them to make decisions on their care (Alzheimer’s Association National Board of Directors, 2011). The Association also agrees with the argument of this paper and states that while it is important to protect a person from harm, sufferers should be allowed to make their own choices to their fullest extent and to challenge this robs them of their independence and dignity (Alzheimer’s Association National Board of Directors, 2011).
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