Informed Consent in Midwifery
Being such, it becomes the “supreme test of solicitude, when unequal power finds compensation in authentic reciprocity of exchange, which in the hour of agony, finds refuge in the shared whisper of voices, or the feeble embrace of clasped hands.” (Ricoeur 1992, p 191) Thus, the subjectivity, personhood and humanity of both the nurse and the client are supported as “nurses respond with authentic presence to a call from another” (Boykin Schoenhofer, 1990, p 150) at the moment of health vulnerability. It is in this context of care that the midwife and client scenario becomes the paramount exemplar of support for the dignity and humanity of the client as their relation affirms the subjectivity and autonomy of the women client to decide over their bodies (Dekkers, 2001. 2004). And the power to decide over one’s body is concretely manifested by informed consent. However, what is informed consent?In lieu of the significance attributed to informed consent, this paper intends to look into the concept of informed consent in order to gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of informed consent as it is applied in a midwife – client relations. Moreover, this paper aims to compare some of the identified approaches in the understanding and application of informed consent. Finally, this paper aims to identify points, which may need further study as the notion of informed consent is clarified. These aims are to be accomplished via a review of existing relevant literature pertaining to the subject matter at hand.This paper will primarily focus on the conceptual analysis of informed consent. As such, it will look into the nature and definition of informed consent. Moreover, it will go over the guidelines of the proper implementation of informedconsent.