Consent and Refusal

L.W. Sumner

in Assisted Death

Published in print July 2011 | ISBN: 9780199607983
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191729652 | DOI:
Consent and Refusal

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This chapter begins the ethical discussion by examining the widely held consensus that patients have the right to refuse medical treatment, including life‐sustaining treatment. It opens by outlining the standard Doctrine of Informed Consent, including the key condition of patient decisional capacity. It develops a justificatory framework for informed consent by appealing to the foundational values of patient well‐being and autonomy and shows how informed consent allows patients to waive their right of bodily integrity in order to accept medical treatment. It then demonstrates how the right of informed refusal is an integral ingredient of informed consent. Finally, it raises the question whether refusal of life‐sustaining treatment can be equivalent to suicide and how the determination of cause of death plays an important role in answering this question.

Keywords: informed consent; decisional capacity; rights; treatment refusal; life‐sustaining treatment; suicide; cause of death

Chapter.  12020 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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