The requirement of informed consent (IC) to medical treatments is almost invariably justified with appeal to patient autonomy. Indeed, it is common to assume that there is a conceptual link between the principle of respect for autonomy and the requirement of IC, as in the influential work of Beauchamp and Childress.
In this paper I will argue that the possible relation between the norm of respecting (or promoting) patient autonomy and IC is much weaker than conventionally conceived. One consequence of this is that it is possible to exercise your autonomy without having the amount of and the kind of information that are assumed in the standard requirement of IC to medical treatments. In particular, I will argue that with a plausible conception of patient autonomy, the respect for and the promotion of patient autonomy are in certain circumstances better protected by giving patients the right to give their negatively informed consent to medical treatments.
- informed consent
- negative beliefs
- positive beliefs
- negatively informed consent
Statistics from Altmetric.com
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.
Competing interests: None.
Read the full text or download the PDF:
Other content recommended for you
- Ideals of patient autonomy in clinical decision making: a study on the development of a scale to assess patients’ and physicians’ views
- In defence of personal autonomy
- Prescribing placebos ethically: the appeal of negatively informed consent
- Moral principles and medical practice: the role of patient autonomy in the extensive use of radiological services
- The ethics of imperfect cures: models of service delivery and patient vulnerability
- Is respect for autonomy defensible?
- Capturing and promoting the autonomy of capacitous vulnerable adults
- First among equals? Adaptive preferences and the limits of autonomy in medical ethics
- Pressure and coercion in the care for the addicted: ethical perspectives
- Consent for anaesthesia