Ethics - Informed consent

From CambridgeNotes

Valid consent = Informed + Competent + Voluntary (“autonomous authorization”)


  • Giving information re risks – what a “Prudent pt” wants to know (Sidaway, 1984)
  • ~10% likelihood
  • Serious complication
  • Pt asks

Competent = Capacity (legal term)

  • 3 elements
    • Understand + Communication – potential alternatives
    • Reasoning – short term memory to retain info
    • Have set of own values – to evaluate outcomes, benefits vs risks
  • Note these are “Function specific” – particular decision particular time; advanced Directives (extend autonomy to incompetence) are not authorized by any statutes (though courts may accept)
  • Competent Adult (≥18y) – may refuse ANY Tx, even life saving – or else Battery
  • Incompetent Adult – NO ONE (not even court) can give/withhold consent
    • Dr act in Best Interests of pt.
    • Relatives, friends only as sources of info, not proxy
  • Children (see Children)
  • Mental Health Act 1983 (see mentally disordered pt)

Consent form

  • Just provides evidence, no legal force
  • Disclaimers for additional procedures to avoid Battery