Tag Archives: informed consent


I’ve been re-watching Ally McBeal lately.  I could give some bullshit reason for why– something about posing interesting questions about the role of feminism post-1995 or providing a positive and evolving model for the distinction of “eccentricity” from “mental illness”– but the simple truth is that it makes me laugh.

I like absurdity.  I like character-driven comedy.  I like quips and one-liners.  I like relationship angst.

But this little exchange blindsided me with its brilliance:


I say to people “Informed consent is your right– insist on it!” and they reply “But I trust my doctor.  My doctor wouldn’t do anything that wasn’t necessary for my health or the health of my baby.”

Cue laugh track.

If allopathic doctors were the trustworthy and stalwart agents of shining humanitarianism society paints them to be, they would insist that patients do their own research, they would encourage patients to seek second (and third!) opinions, and they would champion informed consent.

Trust is no substitute for consent.  Naïveté certainly isn’t.