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The Picture of HealthMedical Ethics and the Movies$
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Henri Colt, Silvia Quadrelli, and Friedman Lester

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199735365

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199735365.001.0001

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making autonomous decisions

making autonomous decisions

million dollar baby

(p.39) 1 making autonomous decisions
The Picture of Health

jennifer hawkins

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the issue of autonomous choice as seen in the film Million Dollar Baby (2004). The film tells the story of Maggie (Hilary Swank), a 31-year-old woman who becomes a boxer with the help of her trainer Frankie (Clint Eastwood). Maggie moves successfully into the world of female boxing but later breaks her neck and becomes paralyzed after being hit by an opponent. She tries to kill herself, and when this fails, she asks Frankie to kill her, which he eventually agrees to do. The film aims to show that sometimes death is the best choice, and that individuals should be allowed to make that choice when they want. The chapter argues that Frankie is a hero because he is the only one who respects her choice to die. It then discusses the importance of autonomous choices in medical ethics, both because people typically want to make choices for themselves and because autonomous choices are more likely to be right.

Keywords:   medical ethics, Million Dollar Baby, patient autonomy, patient choice, autonomous decisions, decision-making, death

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