August 2, 1971

Informed Opinion on Informed Consent

Author Affiliations

Somerville, NJ

JAMA. 1971;217(5):696-697. doi:10.1001/jama.1971.03190050152020

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To the Editor.—  As a radiologist who has been sued, I have reflected earnestly on advice to obtain Informed Consent but have decided to "take the risks without informing the patient" and trust to "God, judge, and jury" rather than evade responsibility through a legal gimmick. I even thought of devising an Informed Consent for my type of practice along the lines of Burnham's (Science152:448-449,1966) after a New York verdict affirmed a patient's right to be informed. Burnham's form for surgical patients differs a bit from Dr. Alfidi's (216:1325-1329, 1971), but has juicy possibilities.President Truman had a sign on his desk to remind him that "the buck stops here." So with the physician. He may not be God, judge, and jury, but he is their surrogate and must speak alone with the patient as Moses did with God on Mt. Sinai. Think what the Ten Commandments