Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Examining consent within the patient-doctor relationship
  1. Marwan A Habiba
  1. University of Leicester, Faculty of Medicine and Biological Sciences, Leicester


    The notion of consent which rose to the forefront in biomedical ethics as an attempt to safeguard patients' autonomy, is relatively new. The notion itself requires qualification, for it precludes neither duress nor ignorance. More seriously, I argue here that consent is redundant except in situations where paternalism prevails. Paradoxically, these are the very situations where it may be difficult to uphold or to verify voluntary consent. I suggest that a request-based relationship has the potential to overcome these difficulties. It enhances patients' participation in decision making, requires that the patients remain in command and avoids their subordination. Request is also more conducive to treatments that are representative of patients' own values and perceptions. In practice, what one wants and what one agrees to, often concur. But these are not conceptually identical issues, and they carry important differences of emphasis.

    • Consent
    • request
    • paternalism

    Statistics from

    Request Permissions

    If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.


    • Marwan Habiba, MSc, PhD, MRCOG, is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of Leicester School of Medicine, Leicester. Correspondence to: M A Habiba, Senior Lecturer, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of Leicester School of Medicine, Clinical Sciences Building, Leicester Royal Infirmary, Leicester LE2 7LX.

    Other content recommended for you