Climate Change Project

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The acceptance of informed consent to medical treatment as a routine part of medical practice is less than 20 years old. While the cult of currency hastens the diffusion of scientific knowledge in medical teaching, social and philosophical information diffuses much more slowly. Random gossip spreads more quickly through the health care system than does accurate information. It is this misinformation that has shaped most physicians' perceptions of informed consent, causing much consternation in the process. Despite many physicians' belief that informed consent is a creature of legal fiat, it is the natural societal response to the demystification of medicine. As medicine has moved from the shaman's tent into the research laboratory, it has adopted the cloak of logical decision making. A natural response is the assumption by the lay public that, given enough information, they may rationally make their own medical decisions.

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