Ethical Questions in Brain and Behavior: Problems and by Fred Rum M.D., Donald Pfaff PH.D. (auth.), Donald W. Pfaff

By Fred Rum M.D., Donald Pfaff PH.D. (auth.), Donald W. Pfaff (eds.)

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That hypothetical condition states that being a hospital patient or submitting to the early stages of treatment obligates a patient to accept whatever treatments a physician might prescribe. This condition should be understood to mean that physicians prescribe what they sincerely believe to be in their patients' best interest. If this (counterfactual) condition were in fact the case, no problems would arise concerning treatment refusals because the refusals would not count, so to speak. The patient would already have consented to everything proposed in the treatment plan.

J. Psychiat. 137, 340-346. G. (1980b). Rotting with their rights on:Constitutional theory and clinical reality in drug refusal by psychiatric patients. Bull. L. 7, 306-315. G. (1980c). " Am. J. Psychiat. 137,720-723. B. (1982). Competency to consent to research:A psychiatric overview. Arch. Gen. Psychiat. 39, 951-958. Bentham, J. (1789). An introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation. London. M. (1982). The authority of others to decide about biomedical interventions with incompetents.

Rather, the values to which Mr. D adheres are not even those that he himself possessed when not in a manic state. The objection might be raised that the case of Mr. D describes a psychiatric patient, and psychiatric patients, virtually by definition, cannot be said to know their own best interests. That objection, however, goes too far too quickly. I believe it would be a mistake to rule out by fiat the possibility that psychiatric patients may in a number of respects be the best judge of what is in their own best interest.

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