Consent and informational responsibility

Journal of Medical Ethics 35 (3):176-179 (2009)
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Abstract

The notion of “consent” is frequently referred to as “informed consent” to emphasise the informational component of a valid consent. This article considers aspects of that informational component. One misuse of the language of informed consent is highlighted. Attention is then directed to some features of the situation in which consent would not have been offered had certain information been disclosed. It is argued that whether or not such consent is treated as sufficiently informed must, from a moral point of view, take account of four conditions. When these are applied to the operation of consent in relation to criminal responsibility for HIV transmission, the approach in some recent cases is shown to be morally questionable.

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