Forced to be free? Increasing patient autonomy by constraining it

Neil Levy*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

43 Citations (Scopus)
27 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

It is universally accepted in bioethics that doctors and other medical professionals have an obligation to procure the informed consent of their patients. Informed consent is required because patients have the moral right to autonomy in furthering the pursuit of their most important goals. In the present work, it is argued that evidence from psychology shows that human beings are subject to a number of biases and limitations as reasoners, which can be expected to lower the quality of their decisions and which therefore make it more difficult for them to pursue their most important goals by giving informed consent. It is further argued that patient autonomy is best promoted by constraining the informed consent procedure. By limiting the degree of freedom patients have to choose, the good that informed consent is supposed to protect can be promoted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)293-300
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Medical Ethics
Volume40
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2014
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

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