The article under consideration “A rational approach to autonomy in health care” by Susan Sherwin dwells upon the right of the patients to have the last word in their treatment, the importance for the medical therapists to be convincing, and the ethical issues in the question of patients’ health and the ability to refer to autonomy in healthcare. The author of the article considers the virtues of a principle of respect for patient autonomy, points at the problems with the autonomy ideal, focuses on the individual and a rational alternative. The ideas presented by the author are discussed in the light of the feminist perspective.
The Virtues of a Principle of Respect for Patient Autonomy
Patients’ autonomy is the main priority for healthcare organizations in North America. However, the problem is that when people are ill, they are unable to consider the issue objectively due to the absence of the appropriate knowledge. That is why people are dependent on the opinion of the professionals and cannot judge whether the treatment is efficient or not. Being afraid of personal life, people do not even think to oppose the professional opinion. This makes patients the targets for the financial or social purposes of those who may be interested. Thus, physicians privilege the use of innovative technologies in the aspects which women may consider as restricting in some aspects.
Problems with the Autonomy Ideal
The ideal case when autonomy may be applied is when patients have the knowledge and may use it for making decisions about their treatment. However, the problem is that not all people appear under such ideal conditions, and in most cases, they are unable to use their right for autonomy especially in the ideal variant. One of the main problems of the autonomy ideal from the feminist perspective is that his notion is not understood appropriately. Thus, many people believe that authority should conflict with the demands of justice. Additionally, autonomy is believed to be free from interference that makes people believe that using this right they reject from professional assistance. The author is sure that it is possible to achieve authority in health care only in the case of social support.
Focus on the Individual
The author is sure that in most cases health care pays much attention to the individuals trying to treat the outcomes of the problems which are to be considered globally. Thus, most illnesses are connected with the environment, and the possibility to solve these problems for all may result in the reduction of the necessity for treating individuals. The author is sure that the solution of nonmedical problems, for example, the improvement of material and social conditions may impact the health status of people.
A Rational Alternative
Dwelling upon autonomy, the author states that feminists consider this notion from the point of view of independence, however, this is not correct so. Until people consider autonomy as self-interest, the problem will not be eliminated. People usually consider autonomy as the tendency to independence, however, this is a different notion that should be dwelt upon as the right. Only considering autonomy as part of personal protection and the right to take part in the discussion of the personal diagnosis and treatment, the health care procedure may be considered as corresponding to the legal aspects which give people the right to autonomy in health care.