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Revista médica de Chile

versão impressa ISSN 0034-9887


RETAMALES P, Avelino  e  CARDEMIL H, Gonzalo. Benefits from the exercise of autonomy and informed consent: The example of Jehovah's Witnesses. Rev. méd. Chile [online]. 2009, vol.137, n.10, pp.1388-1394. ISSN 0034-9887.

The respect for self-determination has represented a great challenge for the medical community. This debate has resulted in laws, codes of ethics, international treaties, and administrative guidelines, all with the purpose of protecting such right. In the medical field, the "Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Dignity of the Human Being with Regard to the Application of Biology and Medicine: Convention on Human Rights and Biomedicine", known as the Oviedo Convention plays a crucial role. The doctrine of Informed Consent (IC) exists to enforce it. This principle is considered as ¡aw in some countries. In Chile, the IC is considered in the legal ordinance and in documents that are used as guidelines in the field of ethics. Jehovah s Witnesses invoke such precepts when they demand respect for their decisions. The present article outlines their position regarding blood transfusions and their contribution to the practice of bloodless medicine and surgery, which promotes the respect for patient's self determination. The experience of Jehovah's Witnesses has lead to a dignified treatment of the patient and has promoted a better participation in decision-making, focusing on the patient. All these benefits can be conveyed to other patients, resulting in the protection of the dignity of the individual.

Palavras-chave : Informed consent; Jehovah's Witnesses; Treatment refusal.

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