One might believe that informed consent has been part of the Hippocratic oath, but until the twentieth century, physicians considered themselves extension of God and did not deign to confer with patients about medical care. With the industrial revolution and advances in medical care, codes of medical ethics started to be introduced, but no mention was made of patient-physician interaction or better informed consent [1]. With the advent of civil rights and consumer rights in the 1950s, individual liberties demanded a new interpretation of patient-physician conduct. Modern informed consent is beset by a tension between its spirit and legality. Overemphasis of the legal aspect leads to an adversarial framework for the relationship between patient and anesthesiologist. The balance between ethical responsibility and legal obligation provides a safeguard designed to help both physician and patient.


Legal Obligation Patient Inform Consent Individual Liberty Hippocratic Oath Fiduciary Relationship 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Italia 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • F. Carli
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of AnaesthesiaMcGill University Health CentreMontrealCanada

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