Autonomy vs Paternalism: Which is Better?

FK-KMK UGM. Center for Bioethics and Medical Humanities (CBMH) Faculty of Medicine, Public Health, and Nursing UGM held a Raboan Perspective Sharing titled “Autonomy vs Paternalism” on Wednesday (17/5) through a zoom meeting.

In this discussion, Prof. Hans Van Rostenberghe from University Sains Malaysia was present to present the topic “Autonomy: Are there Limits? Should We Follow the British?”. According to Prof. Hans, autonomy is one of the pillars in medical ethics, with other pillars namely beneficence, non-maleficence, also justice and fairness.

“In the principle of autonomy, doctors have an obligation to convey all information to patients, give them choices, then leave the decision to the patient without putting pressure on certain choices,” explained Prof. Hans.

Whereas in the principle of medical paternalism, doctors are considered to know more and are able to treat the disease suffered by patients. “In this principle, the patient has no choice because the doctor is considered to know the best choice in taking action,” added Prof. Hans.

According to Prof. Hans, medical personnel cannot be black and white in practicing the pillars of medical ethics. It all depends on the condition of each patient, each condition requires adjustments in action. “In certain cases, full autonomy can be given to the patient, but in other conditions the doctor needs to guide the patient’s choices because he knows what is best for the patient,” explained Prof. Hans. (Reporter: Nirwana)

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