Informed Consent
Medical care, especially surgical care, is the most intrusive private action that may be done to a free person. Society may imprison or execute, but one private citizen may not cut or medicate another without permission from the intended patient and a license from society. A person’s right to consent to medical treatment has always been an important part of medical care. It was not a topic of general interest until the war crimes trials at Nuremberg shocked the world medical community with revelations about the experiments carried out by physicians in the death camps. Blurring the line between experimentation and torture, these experiments moved the discussion of consent to medical care from the philosophical to the practical.