Informed Consent : An Ethical Obligation Essay
Informed consent is the process by which the treating health care provider discloses appropriate information to a competent patient so that the patient may make a voluntary choice to accept or refuse treatment (Applebaum, 2007). Informed consent originates from the legal and ethical right the patient has to direct what happens to her body and from the ethical duty of the physician to involve the patient in her health care. The most important goal of informed consent is that the patient has an opportunity to be an informed participant in her health care decisions. It is generally accepted that informed consent includes a discussion of the nature of the decision and procedure, reasonable alternatives to the proposed intervention, and the relevant risks, benefits, and uncertainties related to each alternative (Levinson, 2002).
Nevertheless, the physician has an ethical obligation to help the patient make choices from among the therapeutic alternatives consistent with good medical practice. Informed consent is a basic policy in both ethics and law that physicians must honor; unless the patient is unconscious or otherwise incapable of consenting and harm from failure to treat is imminent (Levinson, 2002). Informed consent applies to all medical interventions, including prescribing, and not just to procedures or operations (Applebaum, 2007).
Therefore, when physicians respectfully disclose all relevant medical information to patients or give a patient…