Informed consent and quality of available information


Standard versions of the requirement of informed consent state that patients who are offered to enter a clinical trial of a medical procedure should be informed about risks and possible benefits of this procedure (compared to available alternatives) in order to facilitate a rational decision whether or not to participate. However, in many real cases where new medical procedures are to be clinically tested for the first time the information available for such communication to prospective patients is very scarce, vague and/or uncertain. This phenomenon is illustrated by the clinical introduction of new procedures in reproductive medicine, such as preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD). Regarding such procedures, it has ben argued that, in such cases, the quality of the available information may be too low for the obtaining of informed consent to be possible, even if it is successfully communicated. Others, instead, holds that informed consent may always be obtained regardless of the quality of the available information. Unfortunately, the standard litterature on informed consent give no clue as to which of these interpretations is correct. This issue is explored by connecting the concept of informed consent to ethical ideas of respect for autonomy and ideas of rational decision making. It is argued, first, that low quality of available information regarding the risks and possible benefits of a medical procedure may indeed make the obtaining of informed consent from patients to undergo this procedure impossible even in theory. However, it is also argued that whether or not this is the case must be relativized to the actual needs and deires of individual patients. Thus, regarding one and the same procedure, informed consent may be impossible to obtain from some patients due to the low quality of the available information regarding this procedure, but still be possible to obtain from other patients.



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 76,264

External links

  • This entry has no external links. Add one.
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

  • Only published works are available at libraries.

Similar books and articles

Can Broad Consent be Informed Consent?M. Sheehan - 2011 - Public Health Ethics 4 (3):226-235.
Autonomy, Consent and the Law.Sheila McLean - 2009 - Routledge-Cavendish.
Consent and informational responsibility.Shaun D. Pattinson - 2009 - Journal of Medical Ethics 35 (3):176-179.
Informed consent and genetic information.O. O'Neill - 2001 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 32 (4):689-704.
Race, Religion, and Informed Consent - Lessons from Social Science.Dayna Bowen Matthew - 2008 - Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics 36 (1):150-173.
Informed Consent and the Requirement to Ensure Understanding.Tom Walker - 2012 - Journal of Applied Philosophy 29 (1):50-62.


Added to PP

27 (#433,402)

6 months
1 (#449,844)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Christian Munthe
University of Gothenburg

Citations of this work

No citations found.

Add more citations

References found in this work

No references found.

Add more references