Informed patient consent--historical perspective and a clinician's view

Singapore Med J. 1992 Feb;33(1):44-6.


Informed patient consent, in this day and age, is usually taken for granted, poorly understood, and inadequately practised. Historically, informed patient consent is relatively new to medical practice, as there was no such consent during the times of the ancient Egyptians, the ancient Greeks or Romans. The culture of individual rights as part of a social trend and evolution of human civilisation with landmarks such as the American Revolution two centuries ago also brought along greater patient awareness of their health and persons as well as their rights in the investigations, treatment and research of their illnesses. The rationale and elements in the practice of informed patient consent is part of this trend. However, there are moral and legal dilemmas involved. Discussion is needed, and though the practice of such consent may sometimes be difficult, the spirit of its application should never be compromised.

Publication types

  • Historical Article

MeSH terms

  • Comprehension
  • Disclosure
  • Ethics, Medical
  • History, 20th Century
  • History, Ancient
  • Informed Consent / history*
  • Minors
  • Personal Autonomy
  • Philosophy, Medical
  • Research Subjects
  • Risk Assessment