The Autonomy of Psychiatric Wards’ Patients
More details
Hide details
CMUinwersytet Jagielloński
Małgorzata Jantos   

CMUinwersytet Jagielloński, ul.Sowińskiego4/2, 31-524 KRAKÓW, Poland
Submission date: 2016-06-23
Final revision date: 2016-08-30
Acceptance date: 2016-08-31
Publication date: 2016-10-05
Arch Psych Psych 2016;18(3):13–17
For many years now, a conscious consent of the patient to their medical treatment is fundamental for medical ethics. The patients’ acceptance is a confirmation of his autonomy here. Since the time when the issue of autonomy became a fundamental issue in the doctor – patient relationship, the concept of „autonomy” has been given numerous definitions. This text includes a number of suggestions of how to understand this concept. However, an elementary questions becomes vital: whether the autonomy applies to all types of patients to the same degree. Whether psychiatric wards’ patients, patients addicted to alcohol, drug addicts, patients serving a jail sentence are entitled to the same extent of autonomy as others. Whether they are capable of undertaking, together with their doctors, their course of medical treatment, whether they are capable of taking conscious decisions relating to their state of health and needs. Where are the limits of their autonomy, is their autonomy possible at all and to which extent?. It was only in 2009 that the legal regulations relating to the patient’ right for their personal life to be respected came into force in Poland. The summary of the text is a statement, that paternalistic approach of doctors to their patients is dangerous and that there is a need to reflect on the scope of autonomy of psychiatric wards’ patients.