Problematizing the Principle of Autonomy
Just about everyone has heard of the medical ethics principle of respect for patient autonomy. And that’s the problem. Autonomy’s “name recognition,” as it were, has led to a superficial understanding of the principle and the informed consent procedures designed to put the principle into practice in patient-physician and patient-researcher encounters. This month’s authors call up and examine other ethical values and virtues that supplement respect for patient autonomy in providing adequate protection for patients and research subjects.