When Patients Get Overwhelmed, Informed Consent Needs Rethinking

American Medical Association
Timothy M. Smith
April 18, 2019

Both emotional overwhelm and informational overload are phenomena commonly experienced by patients, and they can present serious challenges to physicians’ doctrine of informed consent. Medical ethicists suggest a categorical rethinking of this doctrine in specific clinical contexts and suggest several ways that physicians can achieve their higher calling—protecting patients—when informed consent is impossible to achieve.