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December 5, 1980

Informed Consent: III

Author Affiliations

From the Division of Corporate Law, American Medical Association, Chicago.

JAMA. 1980;244(22):2556-2558. doi:10.1001/jama.1980.03310220054032

AS WAS pointed out in the earlier articles in this series, the law of informed consent, as presented by the judicial opinions on this subject, contains many uncertainties and ambiguities. This is particularly true with respect to the information a physician must disclose to a patient to obtain an informed consent and the scope of the defenses that a physician may raise to a claim that an informed consent has not been obtained.

In recent years at least 26 states have adopted statutes dealing with informed consent, which seem to be intended to remove some of the ambiguities in the case law. However, analysis indicates that, although the statutes do provide some useful clarifications of the law, many of the uncertainties found in the case law remain.

Standard of Disclosure  As was discussed in the first article in this series, there is substantial disagreement among courts as to whether the