Paternalism in the Medical Profession
Philosophy 235 EC: Biomedical Ethics
“The only appropriate and realistic model of the Dr.‐patient relationship is paternalism. Doctors are the medical experts; most patients have little, if any, reliable medical knowledge; implicit trust in one’s physician is essential to the healing process; and doctors have the responsibility for our health and therefore have the duty to make all the important medical decisions.” Critically assess that claim.
The issue of doctor patient relationships has become more and more prevalent in our world today. It is hard to draw a clear line in deciding what the appropriate roles are of both the patient and the medical professional. The claim that the paternalistic
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Another alternative model identified by Robert Veatch, is the collegial model. This theory emphasizes that both parties are connected through common goals and interests, and that each acts as an independent equal. This model would suggest that the parties work together, and therefore the responsibility is divided equally amongst the patient and physician. There is collaboration here, engaging in activities, which are satisfying to both, and demonstrating an adult-adult relationship, because no one party has greater control over the other. This model goes hand in hand with the partnership model, which expresses that health care professionals and their patients act as partners or colleagues in the pursuit of the shared value of health. There is mutual participation in this model, which demonstrates that, unlike the paternalistic model, the patient can help come to a medical decision. This model stresses, “the patient uses expert help to realize his ends.” This expert help can come in many forms, and as I have previously mentioned, today society is exposed to numerous modes of gathering any type of information that is of interest. It is of course obvious that the physician has a stronger medical background and is more competent in that field, but that does not diminish the participation or contribution of the patient. With that being said, it is my opinion that the paternalistic model has clearly outgrown our culture,