The Principle Of Beneficence In Health Care

2250 Words9 Pages
The principle of autonomy is based on the Principle of Respect for Persons, which holds that individual persons have right to make their own choices and develop their own life plan. In a health care setting, the principle of autonomy translates into the principle of informed consent. 
You shall not treat a patient without the informed consent of the patient or his or her lawful surrogate, except in narrowly defined exceptions (3). In order to affirm autonomy, every effort must be made to discuss treatment preferences with patients and to document them in the patients’ charts. Informed consent is one of the most key components to autonomy of a patient and is a multifaceted concept that requires not only the patient to be assessed as being…show more content…
It is suggestive of unselfishness, altruism, humanity, and promoting the good of others(9).The principle of beneficence is often simply stated as an obligation to act in ways that promote good. This can be expanded to include both the prevention and removal of harm as well as doing good. That is to say, we should act in ways that prevent harm, remove harm, and promote good. Beneficence is not simply the opposite of non-maleficence. Some would argue that while people always have a duty to do no harm, we don’t always have a duty to help. However, in health care, there is an implied duty to help by virtue of the physicians relationship with the patient. This duty is both legally and morally based in that it is reasonable for patients to expect a professional caregiver to act in ways that will promote their health and well-being. On the other hand, there is generally a recognised limit to the level of service and sacrifice owed to a patient by any particular health care professional(10). As with harm, the definition of good is difficult. The sheer number of ways one might promote the welfare of another defies a complete description. If we look at welfare in the health care context, it is generally seen in terms of health and physical well-being. The following secondary principles fall under beneficence; prevent the infliction of needless pain, prevent killing others and preventing incapacitating…show more content…
For example, a surgeon will cause a certain amount pain and suffering on a patient in order to save their life. The surgeon has inflicted one form harm in order to avoid a potentially worse fate. However, in all cases, we are prohibited from acting in ways that are likely to cause undue risk or needless harm. The following secondary principles fall under the principle of non-maleficence; Do not kill, do not cause needless pain and do not incapacitate others(2).
A question that frequently arises in the argument of beneficence vs non-maleficence is “whats the difference between the 2 principles?”. An arbitrary answer to this question is that both principles rest on the fundamental importance of what is in the patient’s interest. However, the difference between the principles rests on the character of the avoidance of positive harm and the demand for positive
Get Access