Being informed when you give consent to medical care

Ben A Rich

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


A little more than a decade ago, an article appeared in a major medical journal on the topic of informed consent. It began with these two very curious sentences: Informed consent is a foundational concept of medical ethics. Since its enunciation almost four decades ago, it has engendered, and continues to engender, a great deal of debate and opposition among practicing physicians. Neither sentence is particularly remarkable standing alone, but how could both sentences be true? If informed consent truly is foundational to medical ethics, how could it still be the subject of debate and opposition by members of the medical profession? My advice to patients, and to those who care about and sometimes must advocate for them, is to focus your primary attention on the second of the two sentences in the quoted passage and take it as a red flag flapping in the winds of controversy that blow continuously through the landscape of health care. Why this is an appropriate response will, it is hoped, be abundantly clear to everyone who reads this chapter from start to finish.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSurviving Health Care: A Manual for Patients and their Families
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages16
ISBN (Print)9780511845208, 9780521767965
StatePublished - Jan 1 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)


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