The practice of paternalism has changed along with developments in medicine, philosophy, law, sociology and psychology. Physicians have learned that a patient's values are a factor in determining what is best for that patient. Modern paternalism continues to be guided by the principle that the physician decides what is best for the patient and pursues that course of action, taking into account the values and interests of the patient. In the autonomy model of the doctor-patient relationship, patient values are decisive. In the paternalistic model, they are but one among several factors the physician must consider in making a medical decision. Although difficult to practise because of limitations in empathising with another person, modern paternalism remains a way to achieve maximum patient benefit.
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