Informed Consent

Informed consent is a phrase often used in law to indicate that the consent a person gives meets certain minimum standards. As a literal matter, in the absence of fraud, it is redundant. An informed consent can be said to have been given based upon a clear appreciation and understanding of the facts, implications, and future consequences of an action. In order to give informed consent, the individual concerned must have adequate reasoning faculties and be in possession of all relevant facts at the time consent is given. Impairments to reasoning and judgment which may make it impossible for someone to give informed consent include such factors as basic intellectual or emotional immaturity, high levels of stress such as PTSD or as severe mental retardation, severe mental illness, intoxication, severe sleep deprivation, Alzheimer's disease, or being in a coma. This term was first used in a 1957 medical malpractice case by Paul G. Gebhard.

Some acts can take place because of a lack of informed consent. In cases where an individual is considered unable to give informed consent, another person is generally authorized to give consent on his behalf, e.g., parents or legal guardians of a child (though in this circumstance the child may be required to provide informed assent) and conservators for the mentally ill.

In cases where an individual is provided insufficient information to form a reasoned decision, serious ethical issues arise. Such cases in a clinical trial in medical research are anticipated and prevented by an ethics committee or Institutional Review Board.

Read more about Informed Consent:  Assessment of Consent, Elements of Valid Informed Consent, Waiver of Informed Consent Requirement, History, Medical Procedures, No-victim Laws, Research

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Famous quotes containing the words consent and/or informed:

    I cannot consent that my mortal body shall be laid in a repository prepared for an Emperor or a King—my republican feelings and principles forbid it—the simplicity of our system of government forbids it.
    Andrew Jackson (1767–1845)

    If people are informed they will do the right thing. It’s when they are not informed that they become hostages to prejudice.
    Charlayne Hunter-Gault (b. 1942)