When Things Go Wrong: Patient Harm, Responsibility and (Dis)empowerment

Sarah Devaney, Anne-Maree Farrell

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter considers the relationship between patient autonomy and responsibility where patients suffer harm as a result of healthcare treatment.We focus on the notion of empowerment as a key variable influencing this relationship. We argue that relationships between patient and healthcare provider are socially and institutionally embedded and influenced by power asymmetries and paternalism. Where moves to try to ensure that patient responsibility is upheld are made, it is important to recognise the influential role played by cultures and practices in healthcare systems which act as barriers to patient empowerment. Our arguments draw on empirical data in the form of patient interviews where harms have been suffered as a result of healthcare provision.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPioneering Healthcare Law
Subtitle of host publicationEssays in Honour of Margaret Brazier
EditorsCatherine Stanton, Sarah Devaney, Anne-Maree Farrell, Alexandra Mullock
Place of PublicationLondon
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-315-71610-7
ISBN (Print)978-1-138-86109-1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2015


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