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Year 3 - Clinical Communication Skills > Ethics > Flashcards

Flashcards in Ethics Deck (42)
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1

What is informed consent?

- Informed consent is the central legal doctrine that determines the legitimacy of interactions between two or more parties, individuals and institutions - of course assuming that the interactions are in themselves lawful

2

what settings does consent apply to

medicine and the wider society

3

what is the legal doctrine?

A legal doctrine is a framework, set of rules, procedural steps, or test, often established through precedent in the common law, through which judgments can be determined in a given legal case

- it constitutes the minimum our medicine regards as ethical

4

When should consent be sought for and by whom and who from

1. all medical staff including professionals and students must seek consent from every patient with mental capacity prior to every intervention
2. if the patient has no capacity, consent must be sought from their legal representative
3. if no representative is available and/or the treatment cannot be delayed one may proceed without consent, based on the doctrine of best interests or the doctrine of necessity

5

What are the implications of failure to seek consent

- failure to seek valid consent when require is a criminal, civil and professional offence
- might result in charges of assult and battery as well as losing one's licence to practise

6

Name the three conditions of valid consent

1. the patient must have mental capacity (capacity)
2. The consent must be informed (informedness)
3. the consent must be voluntary (voluntariness)

7

A patient who has mental capacity...

has almost absolute right to refuse any intervention including life-saving ones

- in public health context the right to refuse mya be subject to restrictions

8

what does the validity of consent depend on

- whether or not its conditions have been met

9

what are the different forms of consent

1. consent given directly by the patient
2. consent obtained via authorising their doctor to decide on their behalf
3. consent obtained via a shared decision with their doctor, relatives, friends and/or religious leaders
4. consent by proxy
5. advance directives - living wills
6. explicit (express ) consent
7. implied consent
8. opt-out consent

10

when should consent be signed/witnessed/recorded

- when the risks of intervention and litigation are relatively high
- these practices only severe as evidence to the effect that consent has been given
- have nothing to do with the validity

11

what are each of the conditions of valid consent subject to

-- its own test

12

describe the tests of valid consent

1. each condition of valid cosnent is subject to its own test
2. the tests are binary - either all pass or fail
3. the pass thresholds are set low
4. Mental capacity - this must be established before seeking the patietns consent - capacity is thus the criterion of eligibility to give consent
5. informedness and voluntariness must be established after consnet has been formed but before it is given- thus properites of the consent
6. in case of dispute all three conditions or some of them may be assessed or reassessed retroactively, and the onus of proving the validity of consent rests with the person who seeks to challenge the legal status quo, be it the doctor, the patient or a relative thereof. The court's decision will appeal to the civil standard of the balance of probabilities, as opposed to the criminal standard of beyond reasonable doubt
7. one cannot determine the substantive(real) meaning of capacity, informedness and voluntariness by their test. this is because the tests only tell us what they actually check for, which may, in principle differ form the conditions they purport to establish
8. the substantive meaning of capacity, informedness and voluntariness can only be deduced from the legal implications of valid consent which are
A - privatisation of responsibilities (each party takes responsibility for their own choice)
B - reciprocal exemption of liabilities ( no party can sue the other for the outcomes of their own choices)
C - the legitimacy of the interaction

13

what happens if consent is in dispute

in case of dispute, all three conditions or some of them may be assessed or reassessed retroactively, and the onus of proving the validity of consent rests with the person who seeks to challenge the legal status quo, be it the doctor, the patient or a relative thereof. The court's decision will appeal to the civil standard of the balance of probabilities, as opposed to the criminal standard of beyond reasonable doubt

- the court has the final say

14

what are the legal implications of valid consent

8. the substantive meaning of capacity, informedness and voluntariness can only be deduced from the legal implications of valid consent which are
A - privatisation of responsibilities (each party takes responsibility for their own choice)
B - reciprocal exemption of liabilities ( no party can sue the other for the outcomes of their own choices)
C - the legitimacy of the interaction

15

What are the tests of capacity

1. in the ordinary default case (the normal adult) capacity is established by the presumption called "the presumption of capacity" a normal adult is thus presumed to have capacity for any choice they might make - this is referred to as a staus test

16

what happens in cases that dispute capacity

- capacity is established via an assessement of a set of certain cognitive faculties
- this test is referred to as 'function test' since faculties (potentialities) can only be determined by their corresponding functions (actualities)
- by this test - capacity is merely specific to a choice or a category of choices

17

What must the patient be shown to have in the function test of capacity?

1. ability to distinguish between what one regards - within normative bounds - as good and bad for oneself
2. ability to distinguish between what is normative regarded as true and false information
3. ability to understand and process the pertinent information
4. ability to remember the information long enough to make a choice
5. ability to grasp the potential implications of ones choice
6. ability to construct the choice subjectively rationally - that is to match it to the goals one thereby hopes to achieve
7. agency - e.g. to make the choice and communicate it

the patient will pass this test if they demonstrate even the faintest sign of each of these faculties

18

Describe how they demonstrate the task of informedness

1. the consenter must offer the consentee what the law regards as sufficient information strictly concerning the proposed intervention: nature, purpose, potential benefits and risks = the standard of disclosure
2. the consentor must encourage the consentee to ask to ask any questions and make further inquiries as they see fit

19

Describe the test of voluntariness

- The consentor must give the consentee the options to refuse to give consent or rescind it at any point before the intervention takes place - no questions asked and no penalties incurred - if so the consent will be deemed voluntary

- the test is concerned neither with the forces that have shaped the decision, making capacity of the consentee nor with the forces that made them pick this option rather than any other, nor with the forces that had determined the scope, content and validity of the information available to them, nor with the nature of her options and of the forces that defined and confined them, it considers none of these forces even potentially coercive and considers then non-exisitent

- therefore the patient may be subject to certain forms of coercion without this affecting the voluntariness of their consent

20

What is the test of voluntariness not concerned with

- the test is concerned neither with the forces that have shaped the decision, making capacity of the consentee nor with the forces that made them pick this option rather than any other, nor with the forces that had determined the scope, content and validity of the information available to them, nor with the nature of her options and of the forces that defined and confined them, it considers none of these forces even potentially coercive and considers then non-exisitent

- therefore the patient may be subject to certain forms of coercion without this affecting the voluntariness of their consent

21

Consent is ..

- bilateral and reciprocal: the patient agrees to obtain the intervention, while the the doctor agrees to provide it.
- Both parties are consentors and consentees at one and the same time.
- It follows, then, that by exchanging their consents, the parties enter into some sort of a mutual agreement.

22

What is privatisation of responsibilities and reciprocal exemption of liabilities

Thus, if something were to go wrong for one party of no fault of the other, that party could only blame itself, e.g. - legally binding the parties must in advance also accept responsibility for their choices and their outcomes

23

what are legal fictions

factual premises that are taken to be true by the courts of law, irrespective of whether they are true or false and even though they might knowingly be false

24

what are the two tests of capacity

- The status test
- the function test

25

what are the differences between the two tests of capacity

- Status test/status capacity presupposes nothing about the nature of capacity
-function capacity/substantive capacity presupposes it as a private faculty
- in fact faculties associated with decision making a strictly and invariably social and not private, however were the treated as such they would be incompatible with the privatisation of responsibility

26

What is fictions of capacity

Since to have capacity means to be regarded as capable of taking responsibility for the choice in question, capacity means the fictitious ability to take responsibility for that choice or, implicitly, perfect choice-specific decision-making competence

27

What is disclosure

Disclosure is considered adequate if it covers what a ‘reasonable person’ in the position of the patient would want to know, assuming that the former wishes to be informed of even the rarest risks

28

what is the fictions of informedness

- Disclosure is considered adequate if it covers what a ‘reasonable person’ in the position of the patient would want to know, assuming that the former wishes to be informed of even the rarest risks.

- Since the ‘reasonable person’ is a fictitious entity, the premise that what ‘she’ wants to know is what the concrete patient wants to know, is clearly fictitious too.
- the pertinent fiction is the the presumption that disclosure of whichever standard implies either a fully informed consent or a wilfully ignorant one, the latter affording no exemption from private responsibility either.

29

what is the fiction of voluntariness

The premise that a choice between permission and refusal plus the unqualified right to withdraw one’s permission prior to the intervention imply total voluntariness is evidently fictitious.

30

name the new medical relations

1. The parties are only brought together by their own, selfish interests.

2. Because of that, they all appear as if they were working together to their mutual advantage, neither incurring any loss or harm by the other.

3. Each takes responsibility for his own choice and exempts the other from liability for its outcomes. Necessarily, then, their choices appear to them as if they were absolutely autonomous.

4. However, each is only required to ensure that the other’s choice is merely ‘adequately’ autonomous.

5. The gap between the absolutely autonomous appearance and the ‘adequately’ autonomous essence of their choices effectively allows the parties, indeed invites them, to legitimately take advantage of each other according to their relative power.