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November 7, 1980

Informed Consent: I

Author Affiliations

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

JAMA. 1980;244(18):2100-2103. doi:10.1001/jama.1980.03310180064043

IN RECENT years physicians have become increasingly concerned over developments relating to the doctrine of informed consent. To a certain extent, this is part of the general concern over the increasing incidence of malpractice litigation and the growing cost of malpractice insurance. But there is also concern over several unique aspects of the informed consent doctrine that do not occur in other areas of the law of professional liability.

First, many courts have adopted a rule that requires a physician to disclose to a patient all information that may be relevant to the patient's decision to undergo treatment. This rule is a departure from the older approach, which judged disclosure of information to patients by a professional standard. Thus, in many states it is possible for a physician to be found liable for failing to obtain a patient's informed consent, even if there is no evidence that the physician's behavior