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The impossibility of informed consent?
  1. Kenneth Boyd
  1. Correspondence to Professor Kenneth Boyd, Biomedical Teaching Organisation, Edinburgh University, Edinburgh, Scotland EH89AG, UK; K.Boyd{at}


The problematic nature of informed consent to medical treatment and research, and its relation to autonomy, trust and clinical practice, has been addressed on many occasions and from a variety of ethical perspectives in the pages of the Journal of Medical Ethics. This paper gives an account of how discussion of these issues has developed and changed, by describing a number of significant contributions to these debates which provide examples of ‘doing good medical ethics’ over the 40 years of the Journal's publication.

  • Applied and Professional Ethics
  • Autonomy
  • Ethics
  • Informed Consent
  • Philosophical Ethics

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