The main issue here is whether the patient was justified, legally speaking, in suing the hospital for ignoring her wish to forgo the surgery. The physicians believed that the patient was not in her correct state of mind, and therefore unable to make a reasonable decision. The patient, on the other hand, asserts that the actions of the physicians were not justified, given her verbal non-consent of the surgery. From her point of view, she believes that because she stated clearly that she did not want the surgery, her autonomy has been transgressed. From the physician’s perspective, time was of the essence; they had to make a quick decision, and believing that the woman wasn’t in her correct state of mind, they decided that performing the surgery was the correct choice.
To evaluate the justifiability of the physician’s actions, it’s imperative to consider if their decisions are ethically motivated. Physicians have to be strong advocates for their patients to enable them to make informed decisions while keeping their best interest in mind. Ethically speaking, if the patient has limited mental acuity, the physicians can assume that the patient cannot make an informed decision, and it’s understandable for them to proceed with the surgery. According to the principle of medical consent, the patient must have the mental capacity to provide consent to give it. In an emergency situation like this, when there are indicators of a lack of ability to provide consent, the physicians made the correct choice with the deduced information they had.
I believe that the physicians were right to rescind the patient’s autonomy; by all accounts, she lacked the capacity to make an informed decision. If I were the physician in this situation, I would assess the patient’s mental capabilities, their ability to understand their situation, and their decision-making skills before I decide to override their autonomy. I would also explain to the patient that there are ways to minimize scarring and consult with her family before continuing with the procedure against the patient’s wishes. (337 words)