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March 1986

Informed Consent: Surrender or Salvation?

Author Affiliations

Livingston, NJ; Poughkeepsie, NY

Arch Ophthalmol. 1986;104(3):352-355. doi:10.1001/archopht.1986.01050150052025

A hallmark in the sequence of events leading to the increase in medical malpractice litigation was the statement of Justice Benjamin Cardozo (1914), "Every human being of adult years and sound mind has the right to determine what shall be done with his own body."1 It is the purpose of informed consent to provide adequate information to the patient so that he or she can make an intelligent decision about a given diagnostic or therapeutic procedure. While it is possible to consider a lack of informed consent to be the same as malpractice, the courts have recognized the distinction by requiring a cause of action for failure to obtain informed consent to be separately pleaded in the complaint. Similarly, the courts require defenses to informed consent to be separately pleaded as affirmative defenses.

The New Jersey physician-owned medical malpractice insurance company has received 43 claims against ophthalmologists for occurrences

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