Disclosure of information and informed consent: ethical and practical considerations

J Child Neurol. 2009 Dec;24(12):1568-71. doi: 10.1177/0883073809337033. Epub 2009 Jun 9.


Disclosure of information and informed consent are relatively new concepts in the patient-physician relationship. They are based primarily on the principle of autonomy and they have many favorable practical advantages. However, the practical implementation of these requirements is fraught with difficulties, some of which can cause harm to the patient or be obstacles in fulfilling the moral obligation of beneficence. This is particularly true when disclosure of information and informed consent are done by physicians in a defensive way for fear of malpractice suits. The most ethically defensible approach is to tailor and navigate the information according to the needs and desires of each individual patient in a sensitive and empathic manner. The informed consent should be a process of mutually shared responsibility by the patient and the physician, ensuring adequate and relevant information that is well comprehended by the individual patient, and is used correctly for his or her decision making.

Publication types

  • Editorial

MeSH terms

  • Decision Making / ethics
  • Disclosure / ethics*
  • Disclosure / standards*
  • Ethics, Medical*
  • Humans
  • Informed Consent / ethics*
  • Informed Consent / standards*
  • Malpractice
  • Mental Competency / standards*
  • Patient Education as Topic / ethics
  • Patient Education as Topic / standards
  • Physician-Patient Relations / ethics*