Case Study Victoria Selbstmord

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The Principle of Autonomy Applied to the Case Study of Victoria Selbstmord In society, people rely heavily on health care professionals to cure a disease or sickness they may have. One can have a peace of mind knowing that although they are sick, there is hope for a cure by seeing a physician. However, what would happen if a physician decided to not treat patients based on their lifestyle decisions? This happened in the case of Victoria Selbstmord, a fifty five year old woman whose lifestyle choices severely affected her asthma condition. According to Ms. Selbstmord’s physician, the choices she made such as owning cats, the family drama she participated in, and the cigarettes she smoked daily worsened her condition. The physician refused to…show more content…
In the article by Garrett, Baillie, McGeehan, and Garrett (2010), the health care professional’s obligation is to “provide the health care information and leadership to ensure that this distribution is accomplished in ways that allow the goals of health care to be achieved” (p. 71). Although the physician informed Ms. Selbstmord of the lifestyle changes she needed in order to improve her condition, he failed to inform her of other important treatment options. The physician decided against prescribing Ms. Selbstmord a medication for asthma because of the side effects that would result. However, the principle of double effect of nonmaleficence would suggest that improvement of her asthma by the medication would create more good than the harm of the side effects so it should have been given as an option for the patient to decide. If the health care professional would have provided Ms. Selbstmord of all of the options for treatment and their consequences, it would become Ms. Selbstmord’s responsibility if whether or not her condition improved or worsened. The best a health care professional can do is stress to the patient how damaging her choices are to her health and still help to improve her asthma in anyway…show more content…
Thus, a person’s health should not be sacrificed due to that patient’s autonomy or right to make his or her own choices. As long as a patient is informed about the consequences of their actions, then one should be able to do what he or she deems necessary. Ms. Selbstmord’s case illustrates the shift that society is beginning to make further from autonomy and to other principles that place less value on a patient’s rights. References Callahan, D. (1994). Bioethics: Private choice and common good. Hastings Center Report, 24(3), 28-31. doi: 10.2307/3563397 Garrett, T. M., Baillie, H. W., McGeehan, J., & Garrett, R. M. (2010). Principles of beneficence and nonmaleficence. In Health care ethics: Principles and problems (5th ed., pp. 58-81). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall. Tong, R. (2007). New perspectives in healthcare ethics: An interdisciplinary and crosscultural approach (pp. 6-24). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice

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