Balancing Consciences: How our Obsession with Autonomy Sacrifices our Duty to our Patients
KeywordsMedicine; United States; Ethics
autonomy; conscience; reproductive rights
R5-920; RA1-1270; RA421-790.95; R723-726
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AbstractHealthcare in the United States is most often described and experienced as an immense, convoluted industry with a sum greater than its parts. However, it is important to remember that these parts are distinct, autonomous individuals and entities with their own beliefs, customs, and viewpoints. Moral issues surface abundantly in healthcare due to its interconnectedness with human life with enhanced proximity during life’s beginning and end. Therefore, these individual beliefs are prone to clashing as seen in three key relationships: between patient and provider, between providers, and between industry and providers. While this is both to be expected and respected, it is important to remember that all individuals and entities involved in healthcare do have one major duty in common – the welfare of the patient. Unfortunately, legislature at both the state and federal levels and organizational policies have been too willing to endanger the welfare of patients for the sake of balancing the individual consciences involved.