Revistes Catalanes amb Accés Obert (RACO)

Minor Patients' Autonomy. Recognizing the Dignity to Create Capabilities

Júlia Martín Badia


The current health legislation recognizes minors’ capacity to make decisions or, at least, to take part in those that affect them, according to their age and maturity. But this capacity is not promoted. Capacitating minors to make their own decisions is still a challenge, because it requires something that today is not happening: autonomy has to be understood not as a state, but as a process that needs support. Our proposal is that this support should be based on recognizing minors as vulnerable persons, that is to say, as persons with emotional needs, who are the subjects of rights and duties, and who have social needs of self-fulfillment. All in all, autonomy has to be understood as a process based on recognizing minors’ dignity as a previous condition to help them acquire those typical capabilities of autonomous persons. This concept of support requires, in the first place, a change of the social view of minors.

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