To see for myself: informed consent and the culture of openness

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Informed consent needs to be practised within a culture of openness if it is to enhance public trust in medical procedures around death. Openness should entail patients not just receiving information from doctors, but also having the right to see certain medical procedures. This article proposes in particular that it would be desirable for the public to be allowed to attend an autopsy of a person they do not know. Evidence from the UK, where members of the public may go backstage to witness the process of cremation, the other technical process in which dead bodies are violently but legitimately assaulted, suggests benefits from a policy of openness. When a family consents to cremation in Britain, their consent is only minimally informed, but the system has nothing to hide, and trust is high. This suggests that the opportunity for lay people also to witness certain medical procedures might do more to restore public trust in medical procedures around death than a narrow interpretation of informed consent in which information is controlled by the profession.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)675-678
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Medical Ethics
Volume34
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2008

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Informed Consent
Cremation
witness
death
Autopsy
profession
interpretation
human being
Openness
evidence
Consent
Witness

Cite this

To see for myself: informed consent and the culture of openness. / Walter, T.

In: Journal of Medical Ethics, Vol. 34, No. 9, 2008, p. 675-678.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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