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Am J Gastroenterol. 2004 Jun;99(6):977-80.

Informed consent: not just for procedures anymore.

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University of Washington, USA.


The ethical and legal requirement to obtain informed consent prior to performing a procedure or administering a treatment derives from the concept of personal (patient) autonomy. The competent patient, after receiving appropriate disclosure of the material risks of the procedure or treatment, understanding those risks, the benefits, and the alternative approaches, makes a voluntary and uncoerced informed decision to proceed. This article will present a general overview of the modern concept of informed consent as a process (mutual communication) rather than an event (document signing). The historical evolution of this concept and the legal rulings that have shaped the requirements of informed consent will be cited. The benefits of informed decision making as a communication and risk management tool are presented. This review is intended as general information, and not as legal advice, which should be sought from a health-care attorney.

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