in law, voluntary agreement with an action proposed by another. Consent is an act of reason; the person giving consent must be of sufficient mental capacity and be in possession of all essential information in order to give valid consent. A person who is an infant, is mentally incompetent, or is under the influence of drugs is incapable of giving consent. Consent must also be free of coercion or fraud. informed consent consent of a patient or other recipient of services based on the principles of autonomy and privacy; this has become the requirement at the center of morally valid decision making in health care and research. Seven criteria define informed consent: (1) competence to understand and to decide, (2) voluntary decision making, (3) disclosure of material information, (4) recommendation of a plan, (5) comprehension of terms (3) and (4), (6) decision in favor of a plan, and (7) authorization of the plan. A person gives informed consent only if all of these criteria are met. If all of the criteria are met except that the person rejects the plan, that person makes an informed refusal.In nonemergency situations, written informed consent is generally required before many medical procedures, such as surgery, including biopsies, endoscopy, and radiographic procedures involving catheterization. The physician must explain to the patient the diagnosis, the nature of the procedure, including the risks involved and the chances of success, and the alternative methods of treatment that are available. Nurses or other members of the health care team may be involved in filling out the consent form and witnessing the signature of the patient or the parent or guardian, if the patient is a minor. In medical research, the patient must be informed that the procedure is experimental and that consent can be withdrawn at any time. In addition, the person signing the consent form must be informed of the risks and benefits of the experimental procedure and of alternative treatments.
[kənsent′] Etymology: L, consentire, to agree Etymology: L, consentire, to agree to give approval, assent, or permission. A person must be of sufficient mental capacity and of the age at which he or she is legally recognized as competent to give consent (age of consent).