Peer-Reviewed Research
  • SDG 16
  • SDG 3
  • Abstract:

    Obtaining valid informed consent is central to the ethical and legal duties of a doctor. In South Africa obtaining informed consent for all medical and surgical procedures has been a legal requirement since 1923 (Stoffberg v Elliot).1 Failing to obtain informed consent breaches a patient’s constitutional right and can lead to a complaint at the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA), a civil case or even criminal proceedings for assault or battery. Ethical medical practice is based on four principles: beneficence, non-maleficence, distributive justice and autonomy. Informed consent falls under the last mentioned principle. It is important to note that informed consent for all procedures not only protects the rights of the patient, but the rights of the doctor as well, since both parties have an obligation to protect the integrity of the doctor-patient relationship.