[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
November 10, 1975

Informed Consent—The Rebuttal

Author Affiliations

From the Law and Psychiatry Program, Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, and the Department of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh.

JAMA. 1975;234(6):615. doi:10.1001/jama.1975.03260190043020

I HAVE found Don Harper Mills1 article, "Whither Informed Consent?" to be a fine recounting of the doctrine of informed consent and of the implications of the doctrine for daily medical practice. There are, however, a few aspects of the article with which I must take substantial issue, for I fear that some of the advice Dr Mills gives is imprudent and could lead to untoward "legal" complications for the physicians involved.

Dr Mills advises that physicians need not disclose the risks for most office procedures or minor office operations on the basis of dicta in the Cobbs2 case that excludes the necessity of disclosing the risk of allergic reaction to penicillin. I know of at least one case3 in which a physician has been found liable to a patient who suffered an allergic reaction to penicillin. The court found that the physician was negligent for failing to