Why Informed Consent Is An Essential Ethical Consideration Essay

1467 Words Dec 4th, 2015 6 Pages
The case at hand involves an elderly man who refuses a flu shot because he thinks the shot will likely cause him to get the flu. The doctors, however, believe that he should get the shot in order to avoid getting the flu and possibly dying as well. The family of the man requests the doctors say they are giving him a booster shot and actually give him the flu shot instead. The doctors are at a standstill as to what course of action they should now take. In this specific case, I shall argue that the doctors have a moral obligation to only give Mr. Simpson the flu shot if he is capable and willing of providing informed consent. The following paper has three sections. First, I shall introduce Mr. Simpson’s case in more detail and explain why informed consent is an essential ethical consideration. Second, I shall introduce a counterargument that proposes considerations of paternalism may make it at least morally permissible for doctor’s to lie and provide Mr. Simpson the flu shot, especially if he is incapable of providing informed consent. Third, I shall reply to this counterargument by suggesting that Mr. Simpson’s autonomy is an ethical and essential consideration that should trump paternalist inclinations in this case.
In more detail, the case presented entails a fairly healthy eighty year-old man, Mr. Simpson. Mr. Simpson has endured many years of the flu and even some complicating side effects such as bronchitis. Due to this, his lungs are now considered “weak”. His…

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