Informed Consent & Patients' Rights Issues
There are efforts across the nation to medically screen citizens for a variety of conditions. From the push for state newborn genetic screening programs to test each newborn for heritable disorders, to the call for mandatory mental health screening for all ages, the trend in screening is on the rise.
Thus, it is vital that the nation uphold the ethic of written, informed consent in all health-care settings and for all persons—including parental consent for newborns and children.
Additionally, any policy or law that purports to uphold patients' rights should include these three basic rights: The right to consent, contract, and confidentiality—the three Cs.
Consent is the ethic whereby individuals exercise self-determination. Consent should be informed in order to be ethical.
Contract—-the fundamental right to contract legally with others—assures that people are associating on mutually satisfactory terms and are free to pay privately if they so choose.
Confidentiality is simply the ability to maintain a private patient-doctor (or other provider) relationship.
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(Summary updated November 2009)