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Ethical Cases : Autonomy and Beneficence

In the following three cases, indicate whether you think it would be justified to overcome the autonomy of the patient under the principle of beneficence and why.

In the intensive care unit, you are working on a patient in a very unstable state. The woman and her children (who were all killed) had been in an accident. It is clear that further emotional trauma would be disastrous to the patient and may cause her death. In a lucid moment, she looks at you and asks, "How are my children?" Is this an instance when therapeutic privilege seems reasonable? Whether you decide yes or no to the therapeutic privilege question, write a sentence that you think would be the most appropriate answer for the patient. (2 to 3 Paragraphs).
You are working late and you enter the patient's room to find that she has climbed out on the window ledge. She appears to be crying and tells you to leave her alone. (1 Paragraph)
Your elderly patient hates to have the bed rails up and tells you to leave them down. (1 Paragraph)

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Hi,

Let's take a closer look at these interesting case scenarios.

Case 1: In the intensive care unit, you are working on a patient in a very unstable state. The woman and her children (who were all killed) had been in an accident. It is clear that further emotional trauma would be disastrous to the patient and may cause her death. In a lucid moment, she looks at you and asks, "How are my children?" Is this an instance when therapeutic privilege seems reasonable? Whether you decide yes or no to the therapeutic privilege question, write a sentence that you think would be the most appropriate answer for the patient.

Respect for the autonomy assumes that your patient is a rational agent and therefore, has the right to making informed and voluntary decisions. On the other hand, the ordinary meaning of the principle of beneficence is the duty of health care providers to be of a benefit to the patient, as well as to take positive steps to prevent and to remove harm from the patient. These duties are viewed as self-evident and are widely accepted as the proper goals of medicine and health care. These goals are applied both to individual patients, and to the good of society as a whole (e.g. the prevention of disease through research and the employment of vaccines).

In this scenario, the principle of beneficence seems to override the need to respect the autonomy of the woman. In other words, it would fit the criteria for beneficence, mainly that it is your ...

Solution Summary

In reference to the three cases, this solution indicates whether it would be justified to overcome the autonomy of the patient under the principle of beneficence, and why.

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