Health Care Analysis 23 (2):181-196 (2015)

Authors
Demian Whiting
University of Hull
Abstract
In this paper I get clearer on the considerations that ought to inform the evaluation and development of medico-legal competency criteria—where this is taken to be a question regarding the abilities that ought to be needed for a patient to be found competent in medico-legal contexts. In the “Decisional Competency in Medico-Legal Contexts” section I explore how the question regarding the abilities that ought to be needed for decisional competence is to be interpreted. I begin by considering an interpretation that takes the question to be asking about the abilities needed to satisfy an idealized view of competent decision-making, according to which decisional competency is a matter of possessing those abilities or attributes that are needed to engage in good or effective or, perhaps, substantially autonomous or rational decision-making. The view has some plausibility—it accords with the way decisional competency is understood in a number of everyday contexts—but fails as an interpretation of the question regarding the abilities that should be needed for decisional competence in medico-legal contexts. Nevertheless, consideration of why it is mistaken suggests a more accurate interpretation and points the way in which the question regarding the evaluation of medico-legal competency criteria is to be answered. Building on other scholarly work in the area, I outline in the “Primary and Secondary Requirements” section several requirements that decisional competence criteria ought to satisfy. Then, in the “Applying the Framework” section, I say something about the extent to which medico-legal competency criteria, as well as some models of decisional competency proposed in the academic literature, fulfil those requirements
Keywords Decisional authority  Decisional competency  Idealized views of competency  Law  Medico-legal contexts  Proportionality  Necessity
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DOI 10.1007/s10728-013-0258-z
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Decision-Making Capacity.Louis Charland - 2011 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

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