Limits on patient responsibility

Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 30 (2):189 – 206 (2005)
The medical profession and medical ethics currently place a greater emphasis on physician responsibility than patient responsibility. This imbalance is not due to accident or a mistake but, rather is motivated by strong moral reasons. As we debate the nature and extent of patient responsibility it is important to keep in mind the reasons for giving a relatively minimal role to patient responsibility in medical ethics. It is argued that the medical profession ought to be characterized by two moral asymmetries: (1) Even if some degree of responsible behavior from patients is called for, placing the dominant emphasis on professional responsibility over patient responsibility is largely correct. The value of protecting the right to refuse treatment and arguments against paternalism block a more expansive account of patient responsibility and support a strong notion of professional responsibility. (2) Insofar as we do want to encourage an increase in patient responsibility, we have good reasons to emphasize prospective rather than retrospective notions of responsibility in clinical practice. Concerns about patient vulnerability along with the determined factors in disease leave little room for blame at the bedside. These two asymmetries generate normative limits on any positive account of patient responsibility.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1080/03605310590926858
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 16,774
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
Leonard M. Fleck (2012). Whoopie Pies, Supersized Fries. Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics 21 (01):5-19.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

23 ( #129,491 of 1,728,009 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

1 ( #354,177 of 1,728,009 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.