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Informed consent: ideal or reality?

Alderson, P; (1998) Informed consent: ideal or reality? J Health Serv Res Policy , 3 (2) pp. 124-126. 10.1177/135581969800300212. Green open access

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Is it ever possible to give informed consent to treatment or research? Are the standards of consent set by ethicists and lawyers too high for ordinary people to reach? Should these standards be abandoned or modified? These questions are discussed in this paper mainly in relation to the extensive literature on consent in medicine, with examples about consent to children's treatment and research which raise extra dilemmas. Paradoxical meanings are considered: consent as an informed correct choice or a courageous best guess, and autonomy as isolated, uncompromised freedom or reasonably uncoerced self-realisation. Beyond being informed, consent involves evaluating, making and signifying a decision. It is better understood as a process than an event, in which reasoned understandings can be complemented by emotional insights. Ethical and legal standards of voluntary consent, although partly an unrealistic ideal, provide important guidelines for people who request and give consent to research.

Type: Article
Title: Informed consent: ideal or reality?
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1177/135581969800300212
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1177/135581969800300212
Language: English
Additional information: © 1998 by SAGE Publications
Keywords: Biomedical and Behavioral Research, Professional Patient Relationship, Decision Making, Empirical Research, Ethics, Medical, Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice, Health Services Research, Humans, Informed Consent
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Social Research Institute
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1493969
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