The Evolution of the 'Patient': Shifts in Attitudes About Consent, Genetic Information, and Commercialization in Health Care
48 Pages Posted: 13 Dec 2005
This paper considers the importation of the notion of autonomous individuality into the world of healthcare during the last half century; it also explores the related transformation of the patient into a consumer. These developments have many beneficial dimensions. However, this paper focuses on these developments gone awry so that the result is some sort of excess. The paper describes three such excesses. It refers to the first as the elaboration of autonomous individuality and illustrates it with reference to the involution of the informed consent doctrine. The second excess is referred to as the perversion of autonomous individuality; this is illustrated with reference to rules about genetic information. Finally, this paper describes the third excess as the generalization of autonomous individuality and illustrates it with reference to the creation of a market in infertility treatment.
Keywords: bioethics, physician-patient relationship, informed consent, reproductive health care, autonomy
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