Ethical Principle Of Autonomy In Healthcare

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In a healthcare setting, the right of a patient to make informed choices about their body is defined as autonomy. The moral principle of respect for autonomy directs healthcare providers to refrain from preventing patients from making their own decisions unless these choices pose serious risks to the patient or society. This means that an informed and competent patient has the ability to either accept or decline treatments, surgeries and medications. From the information gathered in the assignment case, it can be assumed that Joseph is in a rational state of mind. It can be argued that the standard of autonomy has not been met since the doctor has not fully informed Joseph of the reasons why he should quit smoking and lower his BMI …show more content…

It is the duty of the doctor to consider each patient’s circumstances differently and take into account the patient’s values and any other factors which might conflict with beneficence. In the above case, it can be argued that beneficence is met as the doctor provides Joseph with the suggestion of lowering his BMI and to quit smoking. This action promotes good health and wellbeing to Joseph. However, there is a conflict between the principles of beneficence and autonomy. As discussed above, Joseph exercises his autonomy by refusing to quit smoking, in conjunction to this, it can be argued that the doctor’s actions of signing the medical clearance form may not be beneficent to Joseph in the long term. The doctor needs to consider the fact that the internship is based in Antarctica, thus the climate and other environmental factors are very different to what Joseph is usually accustomed to which may have a detrimental effect on his Joseph’s overall health. Whilst Joseph does lower his BMI from 35 to 28, he is still considered to be overweight. Joseph still continues to smoke as form of stress relief. It is known that even though smoking is permitted outside the research stations in Antarctica, smoking will cause Joseph’s sleep apnoea to become worse. In addition to this, periods of stress may exacerbate asthma and it would have been beneficial for Joseph’s doctor to provide him with alternative relaxation methods.
The principle of non-maleficence essentially complements the principle of beneficence in the sense that both rest on the fundamental importance of what is in the patient’s best interest. Non-maleficence requires healthcare professionals, to avoid harm to the patient or go against the patient’s wishes. In the assignment

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