Informed Consent Essay

1977 words - 8 pages

Informed consent is the basis for all legal and moral aspects of a patient’s autonomy. Implied consent is when you and your physician interact in which the consent is assumed, such as in a physical exam by your doctor. Written consent is a more extensive form in which it mostly applies when there is testing or experiments involved over a period of time. The long process is making sure the patient properly understands the risk and benefits that could possible happen during and after the treatment. As a physician, he must respect the patient’s autonomy. For a patient to be an autonomous agent, he must have legitimate moral values. The patient has all the rights to his medical health and conditions that arise. When considering informed consent, the patient must be aware and should be able to give a voluntary consent for the treatment and testing without being coerced, even if coercion is very little. Being coerced into giving consent is not voluntary because others people’s opinions account for part of his decision. Prisoners and the poor population are two areas where coercion is found the most when giving consent. Terminally ill patients also give consent in hope of recovering from their illness. Although the possibilities are slim of having a successful recovery, they proceed with the research with the expectation of having a positive outcome. As stated by Raab, “informed consent process flows naturally from the ‘partnership’ between physician and patient” (Raab). Despite the fact that informed consent is supposed to educate the patients, it is now more of an avoidance of liability for physicians (Raab). Although the physician provides adequate information to his patient, how can he ensure that his patient properly knows everything and is capable of making the decision?
Prisoners and the poor population are simply two groups that are easily coerced into giving consent to medical research. Although prisoners give consent, I don’t believe many are voluntarily giving consent, but are being forced to or being persuaded into giving consent since they have free time and require little compensation (Nelson Merz, 69). I do not believe it is right to make a prisoner do something he does not want to do just because there is a subject needed for research. Also, prisoners may give consent to have a little freedom from their everyday environment. “Special concerns arose in the aftermath of Nazi medical experiments during World War II, which resulted in the Nuremberg Code and the Declaration of Helsinki” (Raab). The Nuremburg Code was brought upon to protect the prisoner subjects from harm and to give them protection from being forced to consent in research. It also protects prisoners from being a population that is turned to for experimental subjects in research. The poor population will easily give consent to a research experiment because they will easily get money due to their voluntary role in the experiment. Although the money...

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