Comment on “Consent to treatment: practice vis-à-vis principle” by BK Bastia
Dr Kumar Bastia’s article . focuses on one of the important components of patient-physician interactions – ensuring that consent by a competent patient for therapy or surgical intervention is given voluntarily and after provision of relevant information that has been clearly understood by the patient. The author’s aim, a salutary one, is to alert physicians to the basic elements of an informed consent that are often overlooked or misunderstood by medical practitioners, and several good points are made in this article. However, perhaps intentionally or not, the author seems to transform the informed consent into primarily a legal contract between a “consumer” and an individual (doctor) who “has to render service”, and a tool of defence for physicians against malpractice suits. This approach runs the risk of reducing a critical component (the consent) of a fiduciary relationship grounded in the ethical duties of health care professionals towards the distressed who seek their help, to little more than a contract akin to one between a car owner and a mechanic
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