Patients' autonomy: Three models of the professional-lay relationship in medicine

David T. Ozar
Loyola University, Chicago
Health care is not merely a matter of individual encounters between patients and physicians or other health care personnel. For patients and those who provide health care come to these encounters already possessed of learned habits of perception and judgment, valuation and action, which define their roles in relation to one another and affect every aspect of their encounter. So the presuppositions of these encounters must be examined if our understanding of patients' autonomy is to be complete. In this paper I sketch three models of what is presupposed in the relationship between the health care professional and the lay patient; and I discuss the ways in which patients' autonomy is preserved and/or compromised under each of the three models. The models discussed are the Guild Model, the Commercial Model, and the Interactive Model.
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