Informed consent Consent requires a flexible approach

BMJ 1994; 308 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.308.6923.271a (Published 22 January 1994) Cite this as: BMJ 1994;308:271
  1. R L Souhami,
  2. J S Tobias
  1. University College London Medical School, London WC1 Meyerstein Institute of Clinical Oncology, Middlesex Hospital, London W1N 8AA.

    EDITOR, - We wish to respond to the correspondents who replied to our article on the distress that fully informed consent for randomised trials of treatment of cancer can create.1,2 We are disappointed that some of them have concluded that we are against informed consent. We emphasised throughout our article that we are in favour of informed consent; it is the nature and degree of consent for individual patients that concern us. We advocate a flexible approach, but several correspondents have not fully understood this.

    Mark Emberton and colleagues misrepresent our position. They quote studies that purport to show that patients want more detailed information and are not harmed by receiving it. They miss the point with the examples they quote. Fallowfield et al's study concerned only those patients accepting randomisation and did not address the issue we raised. The other example …

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