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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Daniel Loiterstein, MD (Rush University Medical Center)
Description: This book provides an overview to the theory and practice of informed consent. The first edition was written in 1987.
Purpose: The author's purpose is to make accessible the ethical and legal foundations of informed consent to practicing clinicians. The authors point out that since the first edition, the legal doctrine in regards to informed consent has changed very little. Dramatic changes have occurred in regards to the setting in which informed consent is practiced. These conundrums have surfaced in areas such as managed care and clinical research. The authors meet their stated objective in providing a scholarly, thorough review of informed consent.
Audience: According to the authors, practicing clinicians are the desired audience for this book. No specialty is targeted specifically because no specialty is immune to the applicability of informed consent. Clinicians without a specific interest in informed consent may find the book too long and impractical to use. In contrast to many clinical texts, this book is not designed as a reference. The book is best read cover to cover. Each chapter is complemented and strengthened by those surrounding it. The authors come from a diverse background. Each has expertise complementing the different aspects of the topic. Among them are a lawyer, a physician, a social scientist, and a philosopher.
Features: The book is divided into five main sections. The first section addresses the basic ideas and ethics behind informed consent. The second section considers the relevant legal doctrine. Section three begins to meld the theory of informed consent with clinical practice. The fourth section focuses on the difficulties of informed consent in a research setting. The last section deals with the limitations of informed consent and presents a course of action to improve the clinical exercise of informed consent. The authors meet their goal in providing a comprehensive book about a topic traversing many disciplines focusing on relevance to clinical practice.
Assessment: This is a unique and complete resource for those involved with the process of informed consent. It is a valuable book for those not only wishing to understand informed consent, but to practice it effectively in clinical settings.