Patient autonomy is that right that allows patients to decide on their medical care without the influence of their health care provider. Through this, the patient is allowed only to be educated by the health care provider but does not allow the provider to decide for the patient. In medicine, patient autonomy leaves off and professional expertise begins where there is the dire need to get this professional expertise. Thus, in such a case, the patient has to follow what the medical expert prescribes in them.
Though they may think that decisions are being made for them, this is usually for the benefit of the patient. It is true that one has to decide over their health, however patients do not in most cases understand the seriousness of their health conditions and what needs to be done since they are not medical professionals. According to Smith (2011), there is an increase in medical cases due to the increase in patient autonomy. Therefore, there is need for the examination of how useful patient autonomy is in health care provision.
There should be a boundary between professional expertise and patient autonomy. In my opinion, patient autonomy should only allow patients to enquire and get details about their diseases from the physician but not take treatment into their own hands. This is to avoid the feeling of being nothing more other than the disease itself. The health care providers have undergone training and are experts, and though one has the right over their health, in most cases they (physicians) know whatâ€™s best for their patients. Thus, the doctor should explain the condition to the patent and explain why the prescription they give is best for them. This way, the patients are involved in their treatment.
Smith, D.T. (2011). Patient autonomy and the biomedical model. Retrieved from: http://thesocietypages.org/sociologylens/2011/01/18/patient-autonomy-and-the-biomedical-model/. Accessed February 10, 2011.
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