Informed Consent - Bioethics

Informed consent

The rule of informed consent is derived from the principle of respect for patient autonomy, as discussed above. Informed consent is considered one of the most important requirements of modern biomedical ethics, a lot of literature and discussions are devoted to it.

Informed consent is a prerequisite for medical intervention. Briefly, its content is that before the medical intervention the physician must inform the patient all the necessary information that would allow the patient to make an independent and rational decision (to agree or refuse); the subsequent intervention is carried out only with the consent of the patient.

The main goal of informed consent is to provide the patient with all the necessary information for his self-determination (autonomous decision) about a particular medical effect. The rule of informed consent also serves as a mechanism to protect the patient from violations of his rights, abuse of his situation, actions of medical workers against his interests.

The most important requirements for full compliance with this rule are free , without compulsions, the patient's decision after receiving the necessary information, as well as a sufficient degree of understanding of this information (for which the patient has the right to receive information in an accessible form, answers to all questions arising from him, etc.).

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Upon receiving informed consent, the physician must provide the patient with a fairly wide range of information that includes information about the purpose of the intervention, the expected benefits, the conditions necessary to perform the intervention, the possible risks associated with the procedure, and other adverse effects (pain, discomfort, long-term consequences, etc.), alternatives to this intervention, etc.

Exceptions to this rule are permitted only in forced circumstances and for special reasons. As a rule, in developed countries, these exceptions are clearly regulated by law.

In order for a patient to adequately exercise his right to informed consent, he must have the appropriate ability to perceive information and make decisions. This ability is denoted in medical ethics by the special term & quot; competence & quot ;. In the case of incompetence of the patient (for example, he is unconscious or for some other reason), the decision for him is taken by his legal representative legally appointed. This is the so-called case of surrogate informed consent. As a rule, the legislation of developed countries regulates all these procedures in details.

Nevertheless, discussions continue in the literature on the subject of informed consent (about information standards, forms, special cases, practical difficulties, ways of assessing a patient's competence, etc.). The rule of informed consent remains one of the most actively discussed and developing topics of modern biomedical ethics. To the problem of informed consent, we will return in the next chapter.

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