Ethics: Nuances of Informed Consent: The Paradigm of Regional Anesthesia

Douglas S.T. Green, MD
Douglas S.T. Green, MD

Assistant Attending Anesthesiologist, Hospital for Special Surgery

C. Ronald MacKenzie, MD
C. Ronald MacKenzie, MD

Attending Physician, Hospital for Special Surgery
Professor of Clinical Medicine, Weill Cornell Medical College
Professor of Clinical Public Health, Weill Cornell Medical College
Co-Medical Director, Center for Brachial Plexus and Traumatic Nerve Injury
Non-Operative Director, HSS Spine

Informed Consent is the primary method employed in clinical practice by which patients and their physicians incorporate a patient’s values, preferences, expectations and fears in treatment decision-making.  Grounded in the philosophical concept of autonomy, it reflects a departure from the paternalistic tradition of western medicine, revealed first in the writings of Hippocrates and remaining dominant until recent times. The practice of Informed Consent in the clinical arena evolved primarily through the medical profession’s responses to various decisions by the courts. In this paper we review the concept of Informed Consent from a historical and ethical perspective and in so doing provide a context for a discussion of these considerations to a specific clinical domain, that of regional anesthesia.

This article appears in HSS Journal: Volume 3, Number 1.
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About the HSS Journal
HSS Journal, an academic peer-reviewed journal, is published twice a year, February and September, and features articles by internal faculty and HSS alumni that present current research and clinical work in the field of musculoskeletal medicine performed at HSS, including research articles, surgical procedures, and case reports.


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