The doctrine of informed consent has the effect of allowing the mentally competent adult patient to exercise individual choice in any proposed medical treatment. The ethical principles primarily inherent in this doctrine would be the principles of autonomy and beneficence. However, it is argued in this essay that the concept and meaning of autonomy might be vastly different between western and eastern communities. Consequently the doctrine of informed consent will lead to a different meaning in these different societies. The essay also raises the implication of transplanting legal doctrines into societies which might not be fully prepared to implement the ideal contained in the doctrine of informed consent.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.