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 8: Informed consent in the Nordic countries

Mette Hartlev


The Nordic countries are known as welfare states and as strong promoters of human rights. This is reflected in the protection of patients’ rights in separate legislative acts or chapters in all Nordic countries. The right to self-determination has a prominent position, but the character and justiciability of patients’ rights vary from country to country. For example, there are differences in the legal schemes for children and vulnerable adults, and also as regards coercive somatic treatment and self-determination in reproductive issues. Patients’ right to self-determination must be balanced against the interests of other persons, such as genetic relations. As welfare states, the Nordic countries also strive to achieve a balance between individual rights and the collective interests of society. This balance has become increasingly important in the era of personalized medicine, when new ways of reconciling individual autonomy and solidarity may be needed.

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