A proxy in healthcare refers to a person chosen to make medical decisions for a patient who cannot speak for themselves or their children. The proxy, therefore, makes the decisions considering the patient and their perspective. Children and people who cannot speak for themselves cannot express themselves and cannot participate in medical decisions about their treatment.
The assumptions of having a proxy subjective health status or evaluation measures are that the proxy considers the patient’s needs. The representative makes decisions on behalf of the patient because the patient cannot do it on themselves, considering what the patient would have wanted and how they want it (Rodgers & Kass, 2018). Children and patients who cannot speak for themselves might find it challenging to participate in their treatment, and thus a proxy with their interests at heart takes on that responsibility. It is assumed that parents and caregivers have the interests of their children at heart, and they understand their children’s illnesses better than anyone else (Felnhofer et al., 2019). The assumption is that a parent or caregiver knows what is best for their patients and uses ethical standards to guide their actions. Proxies who spend most of their time caring for the patient know much about them and what they would want; thus, they are in the best place to understand what the patient would have liked.
The potential ramification of having a proxy in healthcare is that the proxy might not act in the patient’s best interests but in their own. Understanding and determining if the proxy is working in the patient’s interests could be challenging. Proxy decisions could be disturbing in cases where their own needs influence the judgment of the proxy. If a proxy is taking care of a terminally ill patient who cannot talk, and the chances of recovery are meager might not make the best decision for the patient. The proxy might choose a treatment that will not help the patient or choose a cheaper option because the proxy is interested in saving the wealth of the patients so that they can inherit the wealth once the patient dies. Such a decision might not be the one the patient wants; thus, proxies do not always make the best decisions for the patient. Proxies on some occasions might do what is best for the patient but might be negatively influenced by their personal interests causing a problem for the patient.
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