Does the Doctor Know Best? A Deconstruction of Informed Consent

  • Christopher Monaghan

Abstract

The law in relation to informed consent has shifted to a patient-centred approach and no longer is the doctor deemed to know best. It is only when the patient has been given sufficient knowledge of the treatment, do they have the power to make an informed choice.

This article analyses the law of informed consent and outlines how the law has finally recognised the right of patient autonomy. It is now the patient, not the doctor, who has the right to decide.  Particular focus will be placed on information disclosure, what this entails, and how it enables greater protection and empowerment for the patient. Finally, as the law in regards to informed consent is still fluid, comparative law from other jurisdictions and guidance from the medical profession will be analysed to gauge the best course for development.

This article offers a unique objective view of the law in relation to informed consent by not only outlining its accolades but also highlighting where ambiguity remains. It will conclude that the right of patient autonomy in informed consent is unassailable and the law will only further develop along this line of patient-centred thinking.

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