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September 13, 1995

Informed Consent, Cultural Sensitivity, and Respect for Persons

Author Affiliations

From the Georgetown/Johns Hopkins Program on Law and Public Health, Washington, DC, and Baltimore, Md.

JAMA. 1995;274(10):844-845. doi:10.1001/jama.1995.03530100084039

The doctrine of informed consent to medical treatment or research is grounded in the ethical principle of respect for persons that regards individuals as autonomous agents "capable of deliberation about personal goals and of acting under the direction of such deliberation."1 International ethical codes and human rights law appear to accept informed consent as a universal expression of respect for persons. The Nuremberg Code, Helsinki IV, and the Council of International Organizations of Medical Sciences' ethical guidelines focus on the need for full disclosure to enable individuals to make free and informed decisions. Informed consent is also thought to be incorporated into the right to security of the person recognized in the International Bill of Human Rights. The right to autonomy or self-determination, then, is broadly perceived to be a morally necessary method of demonstrating genuine respect for human integrity.

See also pp 820 and 826.

But is the