Ethical and End-of-Life Issues - Decisions Concerning Treatment

Patient autonomy

Patient autonomy is a highly valued guiding ethical principle in U.S. medicine. Adult patients with decision-making capacity can and may choose to accept or refuse medical therapies. If a patient's decision-making capacity is questionable, a psychiatrist should evaluate the patient. Decision-making capacity contains four essential elements; understanding, appreciation, reasoning, choice. Competence is a legal term and thus should be limited in use.

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