Medical Ethics : Medical Medicine Essay

Medical Ethics : Medical Medicine Essay

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Austin Eby
Medical Ethics
Andrew Erickson
March 19, 2015
Medical Paternalism
Alan Goldman argues that medical paternalism is unjustified except in very rare cases. He states that disregarding patient autonomy, forcing patients to undergo procedures, and withholding important information regarding diagnoses and medical procedures is morally wrong. Goldman argues that it is more important to allow patients to have the ability to make autonomous decisions with their health and what treatment options if any they want to pursue. He argues that medical professionals must respect patient autonomy regardless of the results that may or may not be beneficial to a patient’s health. I will both offer an objection and support Goldman’s argument. I will argue that while medical professionals have an obligation to promote patient autonomy but are not required to base their knowledge solely on morality. There is a level of obligation for medical professionals to promote a patients health and well-being when patients are not fully autonomous.
Goldman’s argument state that medical professionals have an obligation to both respect patient autonomy and promote patient well-being. He states that when medical knowledge and a patient’s autonomy come into conflict there is a moral obligation for medical professionals to respect patient’s wishes. With this being said, Goldman states that medical paternalism is unjustified even if a treatment can save or extend the life of a patient.
I do not believe that Allan Goldman’s argument is able to cover some important details that can be said to refute his argument. While Goldman’s argument provides excellent moral reasoning from a patient’s standpoint of view, it fails to fully detail the reasoning of paternalis...


... middle of paper ...


...tonomy. There are fine lines for respecting autonomy, morality, and the professional care of a patient.
I do not think Allan Goldman has a concretely valid argument. 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 well-being.

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