Guardianship for Incapacitated Persons in Medical Interventions: Legal and Ethical Considerations from the Indian Perspective
Any medical intervention, even if for the benefit of a patient, requires the respect for patient autonomy and therefore, consent of the patient has to be taken by the medical practitioner before treating a patient. It is an established norm that the respect for autonomy cannot be discarded in the case of incapacitated persons. Therefore, the guardians play an important role in deciding about the medical interventions for incapacitated patients. The process of obtaining consent from guardians of incapacitated persons is not easy, especially in light of difficulties involved in determining the guardian as well as in testing the genuineness of a decision made by him or her on behalf of the incapacitated patient. In addition, such a scenario also brings forward several ethical and legal concerns to medical practitioners and guardians. Hence, the present day challenge in the treatment of incapacitated persons is found in terms of dealing with ethico-legal concerns in giving consent for medical interventions with a view to uphold the best interest of the incapacitated persons.