Anorexia, Welfare, and the Varieties of Autonomy: Judicial Rhetoric and the Law in Practice

In English medical law, it is something of an axiom that adult competent patients have an absolute right to refuse all and any medical treatment, including potentially life-saving and life-sustaining treatment. This legal proposition, which is embedded in the doctrine of consent, has for the last few decades been regarded as the expression of the philosophical principle of personal autonomy and ethical right of self-determination. The Western ethical and legal traditions places heavy emphasis on notions of personal sovereignty reflected in the strong rhetorical entrenchment of patient autonomy in judicial determinations of treatment refusal cases. In a spate of legal cases in the 1980s and 1990s judicial rhetoric ..
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DOI 10.1353/ppp.0.0291
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