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May 7, 1982

Informed Consent-Reply

JAMA. 1982;247(17):2371. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03320420026019

In Reply.—  We agree with the substance of Mr Sorenson's observation that the basis for the informed consent requirement is a matter of morals, not of practicability. We are, however, puzzled as to why he finds our article "troublesome" in light of the fact that we conclude our article with the statement that "positions [about informed consent] based on values [as opposed to empirical data] suffer none from the lack of useful data." In other words, we acknowledged—admittedly briefly—that informed consent need not rise or fall on the basis of factual evidence. It is evident, we think, that our article did not intend to discuss competing justifications for informed consent. Rather, we merely set out to demonstrate that those who would either defend or support the requirement of informed consent on the basis of empirical data ought to be aware of the tenuousness of those data. Indeed, our other works,