Dax's Case and Autonomy

865 Words4 Pages
Autonomy is an individual’s right to make their own decision, self-determination. Miller states that physicians are obligated to respect treatment refusals by independent patients. But autonomy is a confusing conception and may possibly be used in a number of different senses. Four senses of autonomy that are relevant to medical decisions: autonomy as free action, autonomy as authenticity, autonomy as effective deliberation, and autonomy as moral reflection. Autonomy as free action is when a patient’s choice is both voluntary and intentional. In this sense, the patient must be told what you plan to do to him and he must freely agree to it (without force and excessive influence). It should be the person's conscious decision and not from persuasion through deception or manipulation to choose differently. This concept is illustrated in the Dax case but his request is not granted. Don was told of the treatment and was aware of the things the doctors were going to do in order to keep him alive. Dax was not influenced and made a conscious and intentional decision to not have the treatment done, which will cause his death. Yet the doctors didn’t allow his choice and chose to continue with the treatment because they thought Dax was incompetent to make this call and that the injury was so severe Dax was not in his right state of mind to make the decision. Autonomy as authenticity is if the patient’s choice is consistent with his/her attitudes, values, and life plans, as these have been shown to be reasonably constant over time. An authentic decision is the patient doing what for the patient. I think this relates to the Dax’s case because at first his request to die was denied and the doctors kept him alive. Throughout his entire recovery period he mentioned his desire to die to his mother, lawyer, and doctors. Then later on in the film, he mentions that if this situation
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