Skip to main content
padlock icon - secure page this page is secure

Cruel Choices: Autonomy and Critical Care Decision-Making

Buy Article:

$52.00 + tax (Refund Policy)

ABSTRACT

Although autonomy is clearly still the paradigm in bioethics, there is increasing concern over its value and feasibility. In agreeing with those concerns, I argue that autonomy is not just a status, but a skill, one that must be developed and maintained. I also argue that nearly all healthcare interactions do anything but promote such decisional skills, since they rely upon assent, rather than upon genuinely autonomous consent. Thus, throughout most of their medical lives, patients are socialised to be heteronomous, rather than autonomous. Yet, at the worst possible time – critical care decision-making – when life and death consequences are attached to the choices, the paradigm shifts and real consent is sought, even demanded, thereby making an often traumatic situation even harder.

I go on, though, to also reject paternalistic models of beneficence as an alternative. Rather, I conclude that the problem is so fundamental in healthcare that a genuine solution would require a radical restructuring. I recommend steps that can be taken in the interim to improve the situation and to move toward such a restructuring.
No References
No Citations
No Supplementary Data
No Article Media
No Metrics

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Kegley Institute of Ethics, CSU Bakersfield, CA, USA

Publication date: April 1, 2004

  • Access Key
  • Free content
  • Partial Free content
  • New content
  • Open access content
  • Partial Open access content
  • Subscribed content
  • Partial Subscribed content
  • Free trial content
Cookie Policy
X
Cookie Policy
Ingenta Connect website makes use of cookies so as to keep track of data that you have filled in. I am Happy with this Find out more