Informed Consent: Myth or Reality
Medicine and Law 2002; 21(3): 473-483
The rapidly growing awareness and respect of the social needs and legal rights of the patient in many countries is a sign of cultural maturity of society at large. However, the implementation of these achievements is especially arduous in the field of psychiatry because often mental patients have cognitive restrictions and/or emotional distress both of which may interfere with the exercise of their civil rights. One focus of this paper is the challenging process of obtaining legally valid consent from a severely ill psychiatric patient for diagnostic procedures and for treatment and also for participation in research projects. This paper also analyzes and discusses the new developments in the health legislation in Israel and focuses on the questions that arise in its application to the field of psychiatry. A recommendation for practical assessment of competence is presented. Systematic studies of the application of legal regulation and appropriate modifications are needed.
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