Informed Consent and Health
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Informed Consent and Health

A Global Analysis

Edited by Thierry Vansweevelt and Nicola Glover-Thomas

Informed consent is the legal instrument that purports to protect an individual’s autonomy and defends against medical arbitrariness. This illuminating book investigates our evolving understanding of informed consent from a range of comparative and international perspectives, demonstrating the diversity of its interpretations around the world. Chapters offer a nuanced analysis of the problems that impede the understanding and implementation of the concept of informed consent and explore the contemporary challenges that continue to hinder both the patient and the medical community.
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Chapter 5: A critique of informed consent in the United States

Robin Fretwell Wilson


This chapter breaks down the genesis, standards, critiques and questions of ‘informed consent’ in both medical and research contexts in the United States. The notion that patients may direct their care is complex, moulded by legal tests that sometimes frustrate private enforcement through litigation. Often, patients do little more than sign a paper consent form, never having the face-to-face conversation that the form should memorialize. Complicating the possibility of reform, not all patients are alike. Some patients want to be the decision maker; others a passive participant; others still a trusted partner in making medical decisions together with their physician.

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