Luke 15:27, 28 And he said unto him, Thy brother is come; and thy father hath killed the fatted calf, because he hath received him safe and sound.  And he was angry, and would not go in: therefore came his father out, and intreated him.

Among the many legal loops one has to navigate in the clinical environment is a respect for the decision making of patients. Thus, as long as someone is assessed to understand and retain the weight of any information provided, and appreciates the risks and benefits that come with the choices that follows from the information provided, you have to respect their choice.

It does not matter if the choice is the ‘wrong one’ in every clinical sense, it is one they have made’. Clinicians are often disappointed in such situations because the choices made defy expectations, the same is true in many other facets in life.

People often make choices and decisions that may contradict what we expect of them. Some of these choices, like that of the father who openly welcomed a rebellious son as though nothing happened, often fills us with anger and bitterness, just as the older son. It makes us question their intellect and decision making ability Regardless, it was the father’s decision to welcome his own son back.

There comes some points in time then when even though our own expectations are not met, our maturity will emerge from our ability to respect, and not judge the decisions others make in their own unique circumstances, because we are not privy to all the information they have.

Don’t judge too quickly, because if you know everything another does, you might make the same choice they have. It’s mercy that prevails.


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