The doctrine of informed consent in medical law and ethics has a strong grounding in the principle of bodily autonomy and self-determination of human beings. This emphasis on the freedom of every individual to decide what is best for his/her body and health has led to several controversies in the area of medical law and ethics in India and abroad, especially in the United Kingdom. Being a legal and ethical doctrine, ‘informed consent’ has been discarded, accepted, modified and emulated by various judgments of courts. This paper will examine the ingenuity of courts in bringing about social change by upholding patient autonomy and adopting the doctrine of informed consent in the UK. However, this doctrine has been rejected by the Indian Supreme Court, citing the reason that Indian citizens are unprepared and ill-equipped to understand the complexities of medical treatment and procedures. This view, in the author’s opinion, is a missed opportunity for the Indian Supreme Court to bring about social change by upholding patient rights and autonomy.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/dchatur/12/