Autonomy within the context of medicine is defined as the right possessed by the patient to decide what treatment to choose, without influence from medical professionals. Autonomy in medical practice is one of the pillars that define medicine professional ethics, alongside…
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The medical professional is therefore within the confinements of ethical judgment that the individual autonomy is respected. Beauchamp and Childress (2008) highlighted the four main ethical principles as discussed below.
Patients’ autonomy which entails their rights to be heard concerning their views on the treatment they are to be given must be considered. Even if the patients’ views may seem uninformed and unjustifiable in questioning a particular form of treatment that the medical professional is subjecting them to, they have a right to do so. The professional should go as far as possible to bear with the patient’s despite the possibility of the patient being unreasonable. For instance, a patient may resist the decision of the medical professional to apply an injection as a method of drug administration, without considerations on the options that the professional has for the same. But with the ethical considerations, autonomy exercised by the patient leaves some tolerance room on the part of the professional. Time should be taken to discern if the patients’ questioning of the decision to be injected has information of available options as well as the underlying reasons.
Autonomy is uniquely possessed by different individuals as an element of independence in decision making. Self direction in decision making determines the level of autonomy that the individual exercises. Alternatively, human beings strive to be rational in making decisions that make their lives better. Every human being has an equal right of existence; hence autonomy is a measure of equality.
An autonomous choice is allowed by medical professionals only to the extent that it do not endanger the life of the patient. This implies that if the patient does not make an informed decision when refusing the type of treatment proposed by the medical profession, the autonomy does not qualify. Human beings need to feel free in make decisions about their own lives but where issues arise on
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