Autonomy Vs. Beneficence: The Tough Choice

1369 Words6 Pages
Autonomy vs. Beneficence: The Tough Choice.

Essential changes have occurred in medical ethics in comparison to the ancient medical beliefs that predominated the decisions taken by health care professionals. The antecedent theories of medical ethics have led to altered physician-patient relationship in the modern world. These changes notably include emphasis on the principle of patient autonomy. The paradigm shift from beneficence to autonomy has created an ethical dilemma in the field of medicine. [1] Autonomy is the act that is governed by the patient without control or interference from medical personnel or others [2]. According to this
…show more content…
In Physical Therapy (PT) providing appropriate treatment to a patient with back pain is for the benefit of the patient however preventing back pain by teaching appropriate ergonomics and also creating general awareness about the causes of back ache is for the benefit of the society as a whole. Nevertheless, beneficence, has its own limitations. When a PT has limited time to treat patients or in under a fixed schedule (like most of us working in clinics) and has to make a choice, the therapist can choose to treat a patient depending on the necessity of the intervention or based on the priority of admission. HCPs are obliged to focus on patient benefit but can opt out in circumstances where he is unable to do so, specifically in emergency situations but never causing harm to the patient. However, following the principle of causing no harm and respecting the patient’s autonomy holds utmost importance.…show more content…
Conflicts are caused when the patient’s choice contradicts the HCP’s judgment. The most common areas of conflict are: when communicating with patients (with reference to disclosure, the suggestibility, and the power of authority); and preservation of certain values (i.e., freedom of choice, privacy, altruism, and trust) [7]. In order to minimalize the devastating effects of news that bring personal and physical discomfort, HCPs in certain circumstances prefer not to disclose all the facts to the patient. However, non-revelation of facts to the patient disputes the principle of Autonomy. Hence, in modern medicine the need to disclose and provide appropriate information to the patient is the duty of every HCP. An ethical dilemma is faced due to the increased risk over the benefit caused by disclosing the all the details to the patient. [5, 6] Considering the increased risk of disclosure it is still mandatory to reveal the necessary information. Preparing a patient for all aspects related to the medical situation is the duty of the HCP. Modern medicine gives reverence to patient autonomy and believes that an individual is capable of taking decisions for their own benefit on being provided the available options. Customarily, medical professionals give individuals false hope in order to protect them. However, it is important for the medical professional to
Open Document