Informed consent in theory and practice: legal and medical perspectives on the informed consent doctrine and a proposed reconceptualization

C L Sprung, B J Winick
Critical Care Medicine 1989, 17 (12): 1346-54
The theoretical, legal, and medical doctrines of informed consent are analyzed. The elements of informed consent include disclosure of information, competency, understanding, voluntariness, and decision-making. The doctrine is ground in deference to individual autonomy and recognition that the exercise of self-determination in matters of health is a liberty interest honored by our history and traditions. The exceptions to informed consent including emergency, incompetency, therapeutic privilege, and waiver are especially important in critically ill patients and reflect a balancing of autonomy values and society's interest in the promotion of health. Legal decisions inevitably are based on atypical physician-patient encounters and focus on a particular problem or procedure rather than on overall medical care. In addition, they often reflect an artificial view of the doctor-patient relationship. Medical decision-making is a complex, evolving pursuit of a diagnosis and proper treatment regimen. Moreover, patients are not always interested in the role assigned to them by law. A reconceptualization of informed consent doctrines utilizing sliding scale standards based on variables pertinent to each individual patient is suggested.

Full Text Links

Find Full Text Links for this Article


You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.

Trending Papers

Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read

Save your favorite articles in one place with a free QxMD account.


Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"