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Curr Probl Pediatr. 1976 Mar;6(5):1-48.

Avoiding malpractice suits through the use of informed consent.


The doctrine of informed consent is based on a long tradition of promoting self-autonomy and rational decision-making. The amount of information required to be disclosed by the doctor to the patient is that which permits the patient to decide for himself whether or not to undergo the recommended treatment. It includes information about risks of death or serious bodily harm, probability of success, problems of recuperation, and alternative modes of treatment. Disclosing such information contributes to the doctor-patient relationship and therefore makes recourse to malpractice litigation in the face of an unsatisfactory or untoward result less likely. Attempts to abolish the doctrine are potentially counterproductive and could lead to widespread mistrust of the medical profession on the part of a society that increasingly demands more information in all areas. Physicians will best serve both themselves and their patients by fully disclosing all relevant information before asking patients to consent to specific therapies.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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