How to apply Deontology ethical theory in decision making?

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jraineharrison eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Deontology is an ethical theory that concludes that what is morally right is more important that what is for the greater good.  A subsection of deontological theory is patient-centered deontology.  In this ethical theory, people's rights are most important.  People have rights over their body, labor and talents.  

Deontological theory is used in decision making in health care.  For example, should one patient be allowed to die to provide transplant organs for other patients?  The deontologist would say no.  The patient who is at risk should not be allowed to die simply to save the lives of several other patients.  That is, the patient has the right over their body.  

Clinical research is another area where deontological theory is applied in health care decision making.  Although the research being conducted on patients may in the long run provide for the greater good, people have rights over their bodies.  Thus, in clinical research, individuals must sign an informed consent stating they submit to the procedures and tests being conducted.