Respect for Persons and Autonomy

Eric J. Cassell

in The Nature of Healing

Published in print December 2012 | ISBN: 9780195369052
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199979103 | DOI:
Respect for Persons and Autonomy

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The overriding ethical precepts of clinical medicine are benevolence and respect for persons. Benevolence—a disposition to do good and promote the well-being of the patient—goes back to Hippocratic times. Respect for persons elaborated in 1974 requires that individuals should be treated as autonomous and that those with diminished autonomy should be protected. Autonomy is defined through quotations and commentary essentially as self-legislated and not ruled by others or outside causes or forces. Sickness impinges on autonomy and may diminish it through effects on cognition or the ability to act directly, or through unwanted effects of relationships or context. This increases the responsibility of healers to meliorate the negative impact of sickness and actively support the intactness of the person. How this is accomplished is detailed.

Keywords: benevolence; autonomy; persons, respect for; information, impact of; Belmont Report; truth-telling; Berlin, Isaiah; Beauchamp, Tom; Childress, James

Chapter.  5603 words. 

Subjects: Palliative Medicine

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