A Global Analysis
Edited by Thierry Vansweevelt and Nicola Glover-Thomas
Chapter 7: Informed consent in China and Macao
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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