Tuesday, July 02, 2019

Informed consent

1. Glad to see a pro-life victory.

2. As a possible aid for pro-lifers in general, let me mention two words: informed consent.

Here I'll emphasize the "informed" in informed consent.

What is informed consent? At a basic level, my understanding is informed consent is the idea that the patient ought to be given the choice to accept or decline medical treatment based on the physician (or other health care providers) providing the patient comprehensible and sufficient information to make this choice (e.g. relevant knowledge of risks and benefits of medical treatment).

In short, patients need to know what medical treatment they're receiving with their eyes as wide open as possible.

Of course, there may be exceptions (e.g. an unconscious patient with life-threatening trauma that requires immediate action), but I'm speaking in general.

At least this is my working definition, but I presume a lawyer, ethicist, and/or philosopher could improve upon it. I'd be glad to have an improved definition.

3. In any case, showing a woman seeking an abortion an ultrasound of her baby, explaining what everything means to her, and fielding any questions she has in order to obtain consent for abortion seems to me to be part and parcel of informed consent. It seems to me it's what a physician is obligated to do with respect to informed consent.

4. At the same time, intentionally withholding this same information seems to me the physician is failing to obtain adequate informed consent. As such, it seems to me the physician could be liable to a charge of negligence.

5. Suppose someone is seeking quadruple bypass heart surgery. Suppose the cardiothoracic surgeon intentionally withholds relevant information about what the surgery will involve. This could open the cardiothoracic surgeon to a malpractice suit.

I'm no lawyer, ethicist, or philosopher, but perhaps a case could be made that it should be the same for physicians and other health care providers who refuse to provide information to women seeking an abortion like ultrasounds and hearing their baby's heart beat. If so, then we can take the fight to pro-abortionists.

1 comment:

  1. YES, informed consent is so hard to get in medicine (especially in labor and delivery) these days