Informed Consent

This is the American Medical Association’s position on informed consent. The key point is ‘ … he or she can make an informed decision to proceed or to refuse a particular course of medical intervention.’ Please notice the word refuse. It is our right to refuse ‘a particular course of medical intervention.’ Notice it doesn’t say ‘except vaccination.’ Informed consent is the backbone of medical ethics. You have the right to say no. Doctors who assert that you do not have a choice about vaccines are violating this medical code of ethics. Vaccination choice is a human right.

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Informed Consent

‘Informed consent is more than simply getting a patient to sign a written consent form. It is a process of communication between a patient and physician that results in the patient’s authorization or agreement to undergo a specific medical intervention.

In the communications process, you, as the physician providing or performing the treatment and/or procedure (not a delegated representative), should disclose and discuss with your patient:

  • The patient’s diagnosis, if known;
  • The nature and purpose of a proposed treatment or procedure;
  • The risks and benefits of a proposed treatment or procedure;
  • Alternatives (regardless of their cost or the extent to which the treatment options are covered by health insurance);
  • The risks and benefits of the alternative treatment or procedure; and
  • The risks and benefits of not receiving or undergoing a treatment or procedure.

In turn, your patient should have an opportunity to ask questions to elicit a better understanding of the treatment or procedure, so that he or she can make an informed decision to proceed or to refuse a particular course of medical intervention.

This communications process, or a variation thereof, is both an ethical obligation and a legal requirement spelled out in statutes and case law in all 50 states. (For more information about ethical obligations, see the AMA’s Code of Medical Ethics, contained in the AMA PolicyFinder. Providing the patient relevant information has long been a physician’s ethical obligation, but the legal concept of informed consent itself is recent.’

Read the American Medical Association’s Informed Consent Page

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2 Responses to Informed Consent

  1. Toni Thompson says:

    I am worrying about the new executive order that Obama just signed making HIV testing mandatory for everyone over 15. And possibly trying to also get people to submit for DNA testing. Even though he says mandatory….do we have the same right of refusal ?
    This new executive order was just signed apparently while everyone was glued to the Zimmerman trial. Please advice us what to do in this case?

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