David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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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.
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Citations of this work BETA
S. B. Levin (2012). The Doctor-Patient Tie in Plato's Laws: A Backdrop for Reflection. Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 37 (4):351-372.
Paul C. Snelling (2012). Saying Something Interesting About Responsibility for Health. Nursing Philosophy 13 (3):161-178.
Leonard M. Fleck (2012). Whoopie Pies, Supersized Fries. Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics 21 (01):5-19.
Alena Buyx (2010). Können, sollen, müssen? Public Health-Politik und libertärer Paternalismus. Ethik in der Medizin 22 (3):221-234.
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