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Informed Consent Ethics in medical treatment and research is founded on the principle of informed consent. Apart from treatment of patients, medical professionals today are also engaged in researching on their area of practice, and gathering new knowledge in order to improve their practice in future…
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Download file to see previous pages To ensure this, medical professionals have to understand the role and importance of informed consent, and apply it in their treatment and research processes. Informed consent is important as it helps patients to make their independent decisions about their treatment, and helps research participants to decide independently whether to participate in a research, without being coerced (Carmen and Joffe WEB). This paper discusses the importance of informed consent in medical treatment and research, as well as the different ethical issues arising in the course of informed consent in medical treatment and research. The concept of informed consent can be traced to different disciplines, including law, medicine, and philosophy. Consent to treatment is traced to law, while consent to research can be traced to ethical codes and administrative regulations. Informed consent has important moral and practical influence on the practice of medical treatment. This draws on the principle of autonomy, and the fact that a patient must be availed the opportunity to make their own independent decisions about the treatment offered to them. Similarly, in medical research, the participants are not coerced to participate. Medical treatment is therapeutic, unlike medical research, which is non-therapeutic, therefore, research participants are expected to participate voluntarily, since the research findings might not benefit them directly, but the patients in future. This is different from medical treatment, where the treatment benefits the patients directly. Nonetheless, in both cases, it is important to employ informed consent as a sign of respect for the individuals involved (Carmen and Joffe WEB). According to the Evans (WEB), the physician must avail all necessary information concerning the treatment procedure in order for this to be regarded as informed consent. This information will help the patient to make their judgement and settle for a right decision. In medical treatment, the information must include the risks the patient is exposed to by the specific medical procedure, as well as the outcome of the medical procedure and the other alternatives, which might be useful to the patient. In medical research, the participants must be informed about the purpose of the research and its usefulness to the discipline. This information leads to an informed decision by the patients and research participants. In addition, before pronouncing the informed consent, a physician must ensure that he or she understands the concerns of their patient, before starting to act on the patient’s decision. Physicians should not assume and make decisions for these patients, instead, a physician should take the necessary steps to ensure that those patients, who are poor communicators or those with speaking inabilities get to understand the consent information in order to participate wholly in decision-making concerning their treatment (Caroline 417). This applies to medical research too, where coercion is considered unethical. On the other hand, informed consent in medical research and experimentation is equally important for both the medical researcher and the subject, who might be the patients or other healthy individuals. In some cases, a patient might require an innovative kind of treatment, which goes beyond the normal diagnosis and prescription. Such innovative or experimental treatment ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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