Medical Ethics, Research Paper Example

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Research Paper

The individual’s right to refuse treatment must not be given full consideration when there is a health risk to others because of the refusal.  In situations wherein disease may be spread because the patient denies treatment, the welfare of others must outweigh the decision.  Then, there is the limit imposed by rational consideration.  The patient has the right to refuse treatment if those attending to the case believe the patient has made the choice based upon a sane process, and one not influenced by mental or emotional disorders.  These two conditions go to denying the patient the right to refuse treatment.

The person chosen to make decisions for the patient unable to do so should be, optimally, someone selected by the  patient, and fully trusted.  This is likely to be someone outside of the healthcare field, and also a family member.  That, however, should not alter the case, provided the appointment was made when the patient was fully capable of sensible selection.  If this is not the case, then the primary care physician should either assume the role, or determine someone to take it on.  Clearly, if no friend, relation, or physician is chosen by the patient, then the doctor best acquainted with the case should assume the responsibility.

The surrogate should have complete authority in making all decisions regarding the patient.  This is not, however, a situation that may be randomly set in place.  That responsibility must be based upon a combination of factors before it goes into effect, such as family consent, patient choice, and medical expertise.   Ideally, a group of involved individuals should collectively determine what is the best course for the patient, but such a scenario is typically more destructive then helpful.  With the proviso that the surrogate decision-maker is a reasonable choice, it is in the patient’s best interests that he/she, and not a committee, decide the best ways to proceed.

 

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