Ethical Issues Involved in Obtaining Consent for Treatment Essay

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Ethical Issues Involved in Obtaining Consent for Treatment Medical consent is the act, in healthcare, of informing patients of disease processes, its natural history and treatments or observation of such. Consent involves competing values of patient autonomy versus provider paternalism and much of the ethical controversy resides here. Consent is commonly written, but may be oral or implied, and is often supported with decision aids such as written materials, videos, etc. The ethics of medical consent requires a greater standard than the legal requirement. Consent, as defined by law, must be voluntary, competent, and informed. The ethics of each component may violate the provider's fiduciary duty. Voluntary consent may be fraught…show more content…
Thus, patients would not accept treatments and violate their autonomy by this dissociation. This concept is the timeliness of consent. Competence typically involves a person of legal age with a reasonable knowledge of their self and understands basic discussions. Competence is not assured when patients are unable to give consent, unconscious, underage or mentally incapacitated. If competence is questioned, then parenthood, guardianship or durable power of attorney is required and assures the clinicians. Competence varies with elective versus emergent care. Informed consent can be assured when patients are given the natural history of the disease with or without treatment, and risks, alternatives and standards of care have been adequately delivered. The clinician has some latitude with the amount of detail provided by the concept of quantitative imperative as discussed by Schwartz.[2] Quantitative imperative demonstrates complete patient autonomy by requiring patients to receive all statistical information prior to their consent. Many patients may be unable or unwilling to tolerate such numerical information. As such, a “qualitative’ imperative is acceptable and may include such terms as low risk, medium risk, or high risk which replaces numerical values. In my practice, it takes little effort to recognize which patients prefer complete statistical information versus those who need generalizations. Our farming community appreciates qualitative
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