Informed Consent to Medical Treatment -- the Israeli Experience
Medicine and Law: World Association for Medical Law 1998; 17(2): 243-261
The ideological foundation of the doctrine of "informed consent" is rooted in the concept of personal freedom and freedom of choice. The concept of individual autonomy is represented by the "reasonable patient" standard which requires the disclosure of all information which a reasonable person in the position of the patient would need in order to make a rational decision regarding a proposed medical treatment. This attitude, however, conflicts with the traditional paternalism which is reflected in the "reasonable physician" standard, that is that a doctor must disclose that medical information which a rational doctor would relate to a patient in order to receive his consent. The enactment of the Patients' Rights Law in Israel in 1996 was an essential turning point in Israeli medical law. Section 13 of the new law explicitly establishes the requirement of informed consent and the details which a doctor must relate to a patient in order to reach the said agreement. Nevertheless, the law does not state the standard according to which it should be assessed whether the disclosure was proper. In a recent decision (C.A. 434/94 Shai Berman et al. v. Mor -- the Institute for Medical Information, Ltd.) the Israeli Supreme Court took a step forward and determined that the duty to inform a patient will be judged by recognised criteria of negligence as they apply to the merits of each case.
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