Must Doctors Comply with Unconventional Requests of Patients?

A growing interest in “transhumanism” has presented an ethical dilemma for doctors. Individuals, like the bioartist Stelarc, are seeking surgeons who will perform unconventional procedures such as surgically implanting an ear on a forearm. For various reasons, most doctors are unwilling to perform these procedures. However, bioethicist, Francesca Minerva, argues that doctors should comply with these requests as long as they are legal.  According to Minerva, it is not the responsibility of individual physicians, but the responsibility of the government to determine whether or not such procedures are beneficial to society.  She further explains that, until the government makes such determination by promulgating new laws and regulations, denying individuals the opportunity to “enhance” their bodies violates patient autonomy.

From Bioedge, “Is it ethical to refuse a patient surgery for body art?”

Excerpt from article:

‘According to the basic principle of respect for autonomy, patients are entitled to decide if undergoing a certain treatment is in their best interest. And what constitutes one’s best interest is, at least in large part, based on one’s own assessment.’ If a request is legal, an ethical doctor must comply.

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