The Failure of Breast Cancer Informed Consent Statutes
Informed consent is a common law concept rooted in the idea that "[e]very human being of adult years and sound mind has a right to determine what shall be done with his own body."' Its aim is to ensure that each patient gets the information she needs to meaningfully consent to medical procedures.2 Coming of age in the 1970s alongside other important rights movements, informed consent purported to solve medicine's paternalism: doctors too often dictating treatments rather than discussing options. Combating medical paternalism seems a worthwhile goal, given abuses in the past century,3 but moreover to improve everyday physician-patient encounters. Nevertheless, a lofty goal does not dictate a positive outcome, and some decades later, the law of informed consent is failing.'