Shaping patients' decisions

Chest. 2011 Feb;139(2):424-429. doi: 10.1378/chest.10-0605.


Many physicians struggle to strike an acceptable balance between respecting patient autonomy and guiding patients' decisions toward what is in their best interests based on their expressed values and long-term goals. Over the past 40 years, the ethical principle of respect for autonomy has gained primacy in Western medicine, but judgments about the appropriate dose of influence on patient decisions have been clouded by misconceptions about patient autonomy. In this article, we consider three such misconceptions with the goal of helping physicians to optimally promote their patients' interests.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Decision Making / ethics*
  • Humans
  • Patient Participation*
  • Personal Autonomy*
  • Physician-Patient Relations / ethics*