Understanding, Communication, and Consent

Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 5:45-68 (2018)
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Abstract

Misconceived Consent: Miguel has stage IV lung cancer. He has nearly exhausted his treatment options when his oncologist, Dr. Llewellyn, tells him about an experimental vaccine trial that may boost his immune response to kill cancer cells. Dr. Llewellyn provides Miguel with a consent form that explains why the study is being conducted, what procedures he will undergo, what the various risks and benefits are, alternative sources of treatment, and so forth. She even sits down with him, carefully talks through the most important points, and gives him time to ask questions. Though it is a Phase 1 study and the chance that he will benefit is very low, Miguel happily agrees to take part. A week later, after the first experimental injection, she asks him if he is worried about the risks. “Risks?” he asks. “I’m sure this is safe—you’re a doctor, after all!”

Author Profiles

Danielle Bromwich
University of Leeds
Joseph Millum
University of St. Andrews

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