What do I do now?
William Nelson, Paul Hofmann, and Robert L Schwartz comment on another common ethical dilemma
The aim of “What do I do now?” is not to provide answers but to offer readers a range of reasonable and defensible options with which to inform their own thinking and conduct. We invite readers to submit their own dilemmas for possible presentation and discussion. In all cases, scenarios are presented anonymously to prevent identification of individuals and institutions involved. Cases may be submitted direct to the Student BMJ or to firstname.lastname@example.org. The subject line should read: “what do I do now?”
Dr M employed a predictable and common approach, one consistent with informed consent procedures in many hospitals. Unfortunately, although customary and usual, this typical arrangement deserves serious reconsideration. This issue cannot be dismissed as a trivial matter. A valid consent and refusal process is one of the cornerstones of clinical ethics.
The central ethical issue being raised in this case is whether Dr M provided adequate information