Harmonising green informed consent with autonomous clinical decision-making: a reply to Resnik and Pugh

Journal of Medical Ethics (forthcoming)
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Abstract

Resnik and Pugh recently explored the ethical implications of routinely integrating environmental concerns into clinical decision-making. While we share their concern for the holistic well-being of patients, our response offers a different clinical and bioethical stance on green informed consent and patient autonomy. Contrary to the authors’ lack of data to support their concerns about provider and patient willingness to engage in climate-related conversations, we provide evidence supporting their sustainability engagement and stress the importance of a proactive, anticipatory approach in healthcare to align with evolving societal values. If climate change is perceived as a politicised issue, though it is not inherently so, healthcare providers are professionally trained to address sensitive subjects and have a duty to inform patients about potential health risks. Recognising the environmental crisis as a health crisis underscores the direct connection between environmental hazards and patients’ well-being. Our perspective advocates for integrating individual considerations, societal responsibilities and systemic changes to promote environmentally sustainable healthcare.

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