chapter  12
11 Pages

Akrasia and obedience in medicine

Deferring to authority in a decision you believe to be wrong
ByTim Wray, Christopher Yu, Christopher Philbey

Physicians make choices for their patients in healthcare everyday from when to send someone home or into surgery, to which antibiotic a patient should receive. Many of these choices are decided in the upper echelons: the consultants and registrars who have had years of experience. However, these decisions are often implemented by the junior members of the healthcare team. Mistakes in medicine are a common but not a new stressor. It has recently become more prominent in a doctor's mind with the increased price of the error, as well as the widespread negative press and finger-pointing it often attracts. This chapter gives an illustration of when junior doctors in a team disagreed with their senior's decision, but did what was requested anyway. It will then look into the reasons why junior doctors choose to go against what they believe they should do, and the additional pressure it can put on them.