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Book and Media Reviews
December 19, 2007

Rethinking Informed Consent in Bioethics

Author Affiliations

Book and Media Reviews Section Editor: John L. Zeller, MD, PhD, Contributing Editor.

JAMA. 2007;298(23):2796-2800. doi:10.1001/jama.298.23.2799-b

Informed consent has the power to distinguish medical practice and research from battery and exploitation. Beneficent intentions and medical expertise alone cannot do this. Perhaps no other ethical obligation is so universally embraced in medical practice and research as the obligation to obtain informed consent from competent adults. At the same time, informed consent can be a remarkably complex matter in theory and in practice. How much information is enough, and who should decide? What means of communicating information are the most effective? How can it be determined whether a decision is truly informed and voluntary when so many factors may interfere with free and informed consent? These questions are of ethical and legal significance to professionals and of deep personal significance to patients and research participants. It is no wonder then that the literature on informed consent is vast and that Cambridge University Press would be willing to add another book to this literature.

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