When look at if the patient has gotten

When it came to the provision of
information he viewed this as being an ethical matter, because in the end it’s
the patients’ right to decide over his own body and in order to make the best
suited decision for himself he would have to know all the necessary information.


Therefore, he viewed the Bolam test
as only being able to fulfil its purpose when it came to medical matters. It
doesn’t matter what any doctor would have told a patient. When it is the
patients’ decision it is more important to look at if the patient has gotten
the information he needs in order to make a proper decision. He concluded that
the doctrine of informed consent was a good alternative that would be able to
protect the rights of the patients in medical matters: ‘Thus the court should
not allow medical opinion concerning what is best for the patient to override
the patient’s right to self-determination. Our law undoubtedly recognises a
right in the patient to decide whether he will accept or reject the treatment

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In other words, a doctor should give
advice as to what he thinks is best, but it is a patients’ right to decide
whether he wants to go forward with a procedure and that decision should be
based on fully disclosed information.


This opinion reflects the ‘reasonable
patient test’ before it was formulated. Lord Scarman was of the opinion that
the best way to determine whether a risk was material or not was the way this
was decided in the case of Canterbury: ‘When a reasonable person, in what the
physician knows or should know to be the patients’ position, would be likely to
attach significance to the risk or cluster of risks in deciding whether or not
to forego the proposed therapy’.2


Lord Bridge and Lord Templeman’s views were that
Bolam was the right test to apply, although with a bit of alteration. They
suggested that materiality should primarily be decided through clinical
judgement, but that being said the court should have the last word when it came
to deciding if materiality was at place. Lord Bridge stated: ‘The judge might
in certain circumstances come to the conclusion that disclosure of a particular
risk was to obviously necessary to an informed choice on

1 Sidaway v
Bethlem Royal Hospital Governors (1985) 1 All ER 643

2 Canterbury v
Spence (1972) 464 F 2d 772