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Can Paternalism Be Justified in the Name of Autonomy? : The Relationship of Paternalism, Patient Autonomy, and the Best Interest of the Patient

Cho Sunwoo 1

1이화여자대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

In medical practice, the ethical principle of respect for patient autonomy sometimes clashes with the principle of beneficence. Whereas previously medical treatment was guided primarily by the objective of patient beneficence, in recent decades the right of patients to make their own medical decisions has received more emphasis, especially in western countries. At the same time, an increasing amount of attention has been given to the problems of beneficence-based, paternalistic interventions. Whether respecting patients’ autonomy should be ranked above the principle of beneficence has become one of the central questions of biomedical ethics. In an effort to answer this question, this article examines the discussion of Sjöstrand et al. on the possibility of justifying paternalism in the name of patient autonomy. It is argued that the problems of paternalism and neglect for patient autonomy stem from a misunderstanding of a patient’s best interest. Furthermore, it is claimed that patient autonomy should be thought of, not as an independent and rival consideration, but rather as a crucial part of the best interest of the patient.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.

This paper was written with support from the National Research Foundation of Korea.