New rules of consent: the patient decides


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This blog by Fiona Godlee, providing links to more detailed sources, summarizes the implications of the UK’s Supreme Court ruling in February 2015 (the Montgomery ruling).

The ruling means that doctors will have to take “reasonable care to ensure that the patient is aware of any material risks involved in any recommended treatment and of any reasonable alternative or variant treatments.” in the ruling, 'material risk', instead of being in the view of a responsible body of medical opinion, the judgment now rests with “a reasonable person in the patient’s position.” Furthermore, the law now obliges “even those doctors who have less skill or inclination for communication, or who are more hurried, to pause and engage in the discussion.”

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