Social Trends behind Informed Consent
The broad acceptance of informed consent to medical treatment as a routine part of medical practice is less than 20 years old. 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.