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Book and Media Reviews
January 14, 2009

Informed Consent and Clinician Accountability: The Ethics of Report Cards on Surgeon Performance

JAMA. 2009;301(2):224-225. doi:10.1001/jama.2008.911

The ethical (and legal) standard for informed consent is the complete disclosure of material information. But what is “material” to a decision to undergo surgery? This question is explored in Informed Consent and Clinician Accountability: The Ethics of Report Cards on Surgeon Performance. For surgeons, the take-home message is that it is no longer ethically acceptable to quote textbook morbidity and mortality data to patients prior to elective surgery. Rather, Clarke and Oakley argue that surgeons are ethically obligated to disclose their personal outcomes for a particular operation.

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