The ‘informed  consent’ is a terminology  that denotes the process of providing  medical knowledge to the patient  and getting  his   signed  consent/agreement. The  patient  who usually  lacks  medical  knowledge needs  to be  provided   with sufficient  information  about his  condition  and  the  treatment  he will  go  through. This  information  should include   all possible   side-effects  and other alternate  treatment  choices   he  can choose  from.  And the  scientific   information is  provided by  the doctor  who is in charge of  caring  the patient.  My view  is that, therefore, the informed   consent is  the  point where  two  different  and  separate  knowledge   networks  merge into.  These  two networks  are  the  professional  knowledge  network of  medical  scientists  and  the  lay  knowledge  network of  the  patient.  This paper  argues that  the  importance  of ‘informed   consent’  not  only lies  in  the  ethical matters,  but also  in the  power  structure  of these   two networks.  The second argument of  this  paper is:  the informed  consent is  extremely important   because it is  one of  the  few meeting points  of medical science where bi-directional  communication  between experts and lay public is  produced.  Other meeting  points this  paper analyzes are: printed   material such as books  [uni-directional],   mass-media  such  as TV [quasi-unidirectional], interactive  media such as Internet [quasi-bidirectional].

 

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Analysis of the ‘informed consent’ as a merging point between the network of medical scientists and the network of lay patients

June - Seok Lee   Seoul National University, Program in the History and the Philosophy of Science, S. Korea

The ‘informed  consent’ is a terminology  that denotes the process of providing  medical knowledge to the patient  and getting  his   signed  consent/agreement. The  patient  who usually  lacks  medical  knowledge needs  to be  provided   with sufficient  information  about his  condition  and  the  treatment  he will  go  through. This  information  should include   all possible   side-effects  and other alternate  treatment  choices   he  can choose  from.  And the  scientific   information is  provided by  the doctor  who is in charge of  caring  the patient.  My view  is that, therefore, the informed   consent is  the  point where  two  different  and  separate  knowledge   networks  merge into.  These  two networks  are  the  professional  knowledge  network of  medical  scientists  and  the  lay  knowledge  network of  the  patient.  This paper  argues that  the  importance  of ‘informed   consent’  not  only lies  in  the  ethical matters,  but also  in the  power  structure  of these   two networks.  The second argument of  this  paper is:  the informed  consent is  extremely important   because it is  one of  the  few meeting points  of medical science where bi-directional  communication  between experts and lay public is  produced.  Other meeting  points this  paper analyzes are: printed   material such as books  [uni-directional],   mass-media  such  as TV [quasi-unidirectional], interactive  media such as Internet [quasi-bidirectional].

 

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