Informed Consent: A Critical Response from a Buddhist Perspective

Ellen Y. Zhang

Research output: Chapter in book/report/conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


According to UNESCO Declaration of Bioethics and Human Rights, the informed consent process requires four characteristics to be valid: voluntariness, disclosure, understanding and capacity. Whenever one of these elements is missing, informed consent can be compromised. In their Principle of Biomedical Ethics, Tom L. Beauchamp and James F. Childress claim that informed consent is an individual’s autonomous authorization, postulating seven structural elements, namely, competence to understand and decide, voluntariness in deciding, disclosure of material information, recommendation of a plan, understanding of the information and recommended plan, decision in favour of the plan and authorization of the chosen plan. This paper examines the key elements in the process of informed consent and their ethical implications and offers a critical response from Buddhism. The author contends that informed consent is a complicated concept which may have desirable and undesirable effects on medical practice, yet it is better to have it.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCross-Cultural and Religious Critiques of Informed Consent
EditorsJoseph Tham, Alberto García Gómez, Mirko Daniel Garasic
Place of PublicationLondon
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9781003213215
ISBN (Print)9781032073132, 9781032120942
Publication statusPublished - 29 Nov 2021


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