Not-So-Informed Consent: Using the Doctor-Patient Relationship to Promote State-Supported Outcomes. by Case Western Reserve Law Review

Not-So-Informed Consent: Using the Doctor-Patient Relationship to Promote State-Supported Outcomes.

By Case Western Reserve Law Review

  • Publication Date: 2009-09-22
  • Genre: Law

Book Synopsis

Over the past several decades, the informed consent doctrine has become a staple of our health care system, creating a monumental shift in the way we practice medicine. For much of our medical history, the Hippocratic Oath to "do no harm" meant doctors paternalistically determined what they believed to be the appropriate course of treatment for their patients. (1) Now, instead of simply following the will of their doctors, patients generally prefer to take a more active role in their health care, deciding which treatments, if any, are most appropriate for their individual circumstances. (2) The informed consent doctrine highlights patient autonomy as its core value, emphasizing the importance of providing patients with the medical information needed to make a treatment decision that is both fully informed and in accordance with the patient's beliefs and priorities. (3) Although both the common law and its later statutory embodiment set baseline standards for the types of information to be provided, the informed consent doctrine has traditionally left doctors significant leeway to determine the appropriate treatment information to share with their patients and how best to convey it. (4) Ideally, the process is one that promotes the type of thoughtful and effective communication between a patient and her physician that ultimately allows the patient to realistically and objectively balance the risks and benefits of a proposed course of care. (5)

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