Informed Consent

Informed Consent | Jean-Pierre CLÉRO

Abstract: Informed consent is one pillar of the nowadays’ medical relation; it is a main element of the Copernican revolution of the care ethics: where the doctor was at the centre of the system, the patient has now taken the place at the focus of the care’s process. The new deal with the doctor goes through the informed consent. The change is not always easily accepted. French people which just have a quiet revolution in endowing the patient with a large autonomy in the medical act – nevertheless speak of refus de soin (word for word: refusal of treatment) when the patient wants his treatment to be stopped; whereas English-speaking people rightly draw a distinction between to waive <to renounce, to let, to abandon> and to refuse. There is no a slight difference between to waive and to refuse, between a waiver and a refusal even though a quick translation can take a word for another. A patient may decide to stop the treatment prescribed by the doctor, a treatment that he so far followed, without his waiver be a refusal. He is not necessarily somebody who is spoiling to a fight with the nursing staff. Even when they are Republican, the States are not at ease with the consent they try to restrain by all possible means. Caught between liberalism and republicanism, ethics seem, on the field of consent, prevented by the politics to take its autonomy.

Keywords: anosognosy, authority, autonomy / heteronomy, balance risks / benefits, benevolence, choice, contract, decision, deliberation, fiction, freedom, habeas corpus, happiness, gestational surrogacy, information, knowledge, liberalism, non-malevolence, paternalism, person, pleasure, republicanism, understanding / misunderstanding, psychiatry, will.