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Informed consent

Informed consent refers to a legal condition whereby a person can be said to have given consent based upon a full appreciation and understanding of the facts and implications of any actions. In addition, the individual will be in possession of all of their faculties, and their judgment will not be impaired at the time of consenting.

In many countries, people cannot give informed consent until they reach a certain age. The argument is that as a child the person might be incapable of comprehending the arguments and information, and thus could give consent, but it would not be informed. In this case the legal parents or guardians of the child often have to make a choice on the child's behalf.

People must give informed consent before medical operations, and doctors have been struck off[?] in the United Kingdom for not giving their patients a full awareness of the risks associated with such things as medical trials of new medications and operations. In one case a doctor performing routine surgery on a woman noticed that she had cancerous tissue in her womb. He took the decision to remove the woman's womb, however as she had not given informed consent for this operation, the doctor was judged by the General medical council[?] to have acted negligently. The council said that the woman should have been informed of her condition, and allowed to make her own decision.

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