Incom Petency and Impairment: Choices Made, Choices Denied

in Refusing Care

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print December 2002 | ISBN: 9780226733975
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226733999 | DOI:
Incom Petency and Impairment: Choices Made, Choices Denied

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Competency is a notion that has received extended discussion. Incompetency findings have ceased to be made on a global basis but are made only as to specific tasks. Adopting any standard or instrument for capacity or competency requires careful normative analysis. The most critical normative issue facing any designer of a competency instrument is how to strike the balance between autonomy and paternalism. Bioethicists may have moved beyond this simple dichotomy in many areas. But in the arena of assessing competency, this conflict remains central. Four cognitive abilities seem necessary for competency: understanding the treatment information one's doctor provides (without necessarily believing it), forming adequate beliefs regarding that information, reasoning in an adequate way on the basis of the information, and giving evidence of one's choice.

Keywords: competency; cognitive abilities; bioethicists; incompetency; normative analysis

Chapter.  11493 words. 

Subjects: Medical and Healthcare Law

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