Unit 5

Autonomy and individual responsibility


The concepts of autonomy and responsibility

a. Autonomy:
i. Different levels (and notions) of autonomy.
ii. Kantian and utilitarian approaches to autonomy.
b. Responsibility: its different aspects and dual nature.
c. Mutual correlation of autonomy and responsibility in ethics.

Collaborative character of decision making in medicine

a. Autonomy and patient’s right to self-determination in treatment.
i. Autonomy and paternalism.
ii. Autonomy as a right and an obligation.
b. The patient’s right to refuse a healthcare provider’s recommendation.
c. Special measures for protecting the rights and interests of socially and mentally disabled patients.

Patient autonomy and responsibilities in healthcare. The range of patient responsibilities

a. Evaluation of patient’s self abilities to self-motivation and self-control.


The Sea Inside / (A. Amenabar, 2004)

Ramon has spent almost thirty years of his life lying in bed under his family’s care. His only window to the world the one in his room, overlooking the sea, where he suffered the accident that interrupted his youth. Since then, his only desire is to die with dignity. Two women have a great influence in his life: Julia, a lawyer who supports his cause, and Rosa, a neighbour who tries to convince him that life is worth living. They will be caught by Ramon’s bright personality, which will make them rethink about the principles that govern their own lives. He knows that only the one who really loves him will help him in his last journey.

Ethical Issues
The right to die with dignity. Responsibility degrees – among doctors, nurses, family and community – in a crucial issue of our time.