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Informed Consent

Informed Consent

The WSMA believes the patient's right of self-decision can be effectively exercised only if the patient possesses enough information to enable an intelligent choice. Informed consent is a basic social policy for which exceptions are permitted: 1) where the patient is unconscious or otherwise incapable of consenting and harm from failure to treat is imminent; or 2) when risk-disclosure poses such a serious psychological threat of detriment to the patient as to be medically contraindicated. Social policy does not accept the paternalistic view that the physician may remain silent because divulgence might prompt the patient to forego needed therapy. (JC 8.07-87) (Reaffirmed A-17)

The WSMA upholds that to have another physician operate on one's patient without the patient's knowledge and consent is a deceit. The patient is entitled to choose his/her own physician, and he/she should be permitted to acquiesce in or refuse to accept the substitution. (JC 8.12-87) (Reaffirmed A-17)

Return to the WSMA Policy Compendium index

Abbreviations for House of Delegates report origination:

EC – Executive Committee; BT – Board of Trustees; CPA – Council on Professional Affairs; JC – Judicial Council; CHS – Community and Health Services

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