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 7: Informed consent in China and Macao

Vera Lúcia Raposo


China is still in the process of developing a coherent framework of health law, but some norms on informed consent are already in place. The most relevant difference when compared with Western regimes is the fact that in China, relatives are granted the same right to decide as patients and sometimes even play a dominant role. Chinese Confucianism and the relevance it places on the family over the individual largely explain this. Moreover, increasing difficulties in financing healthcare and deteriorating doctor-patient relationships have further empowered the family in healthcare decision making. However, the principle of ‘one country, two systems’ has led to the emergence of curious legal models in Greater China. For example, the Special Administrative Region of Macao follows a predominantly Western legal model, which recognizes the patient’s right to self-determination in the field of healthcare delivery, making it a crime to medically intervene without the patient’s informed consent.

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