Weiss, Gary B.
Journal of Medical Ethics. 1985 Dec; 11(4): 184-187.
The concept of medical paternalism is discussed, historical changes in its implementation are reviewed, and modern paternalism is contrasted with patient autonomy. Weiss argues that current criticisms of paternalism frequently refer to older, more authoritarian practices that no longer characterize the physician patient relationship. Modern paternalistic physicians still hold to the principle that they should act to bring about maximum benefit to the patient, even at the expense of the latter's autonomy. At the same time, they are aware of changes in the clinical, social, and legal climates that have affected medical practice, and are careful to ascertain a patient's values and interests before planning and implementing treatment. In contrast to the concept of patient autonomy, which emphasizes procedure and patients' rights, modern paternalism emphasizes outcome and patients' best interests. (KIE abstract)
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