Running head: EXCEPTION TO THE RIGHT TO REFUSE TREATMENT Exception to the right to refuse treatment (name) (school) Exception to the Right to Refuse Treatment Introduction Every person has an inherent moral right to refuse treatment. These are moral rights which help ensure that a patient’s right to self-determination and autonomy are respected by the health care givers and the medical professionals…
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This paper shall consider the exception to this right, more particularly in instances of emergencies when the patient poses a danger to himself or to others. It shall demonstrate how a health practitioner might justify a violation of the moral rule to treat a patient. It shall explain how such justification is determined and what the ethical implications are of such actions taken by the health professional. This paper is being undertaken with the hope of establishing a comprehensive and scholarly understanding of the subject matter, as well as its specific circumstances and applicability to patient situations and circumstances. Discussion The right to refuse treatment is not an absolute right. It may be restricted in emergency cases when the patient poses a danger to himself and others. This may often be seen among psychiatric or mentally ill patients and among suicidal patients who may enter stages of mental incapacity where they pose a danger to the public and to themselves (Kavaler and Spiegel, 2003). In these instances, the welfare of the public supersedes the right of the patient to refuse treatment. ...
Normally, an incompetent person may not be considered capable of caring for himself and of providing for his needs; however, he may also be competent enough to understand the risks which some forms of treatment may pose on his health. In effect, although he is incompetent in some respects, he is still competent in some other purposes (Jeste and Friedman, 2006). It is therefore important to establish an incompetent person’s capacity to make treatment decisions before he can be allowed to refuse treatment. In most US states, the medical profession has recognized and acknowledged the fact that competent, but involuntarily committed individuals have the right to refuse treatment. The courts have even acknowledged the fact that mentally ill prisoners have the right and freedom to refuse unwanted antipsychotic drugs (Jeste and Friedman, 2006). Many states are still however very much divided on the issue of imposing procedural processes to protect such right. Some states have utilized the decision-maker model which basically allows the medical professional to make the informal assessments of the patient’s competence (Jeste and Friedman, 2006). Others however, require the conduct of a formal hearing before a judge or other decision-makers. In these states, mental disorder and involuntary commitment are not sufficient elements to a determination of incompetence in making medical decisions (Jeste and Friedman, 2006). In which case, before a medical treatment is to be imposed on the patient, the judge must establish that the patient is not mentally capable of making treatment decisions, in other words, he cannot weigh the risks,
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