It is generally accepted in legal and bioethical discourse that the patient has a right to self-determination. In practice though, this is often not the case. Paternalism is waning and it is increasingly recognised that there are values other than medical factors which determine the choices that patients make. Unfortunately, these developments have not resulted in huge advances for patient self-determination, which is largely because the consent model has fundamental flaws that constrain its effectiveness. This book sets out to offer an alternative model to consent. In the property model proposed here, the patient’s bodily integrity is protected from unauthorised invasion, and their legitimate expectation to be provided with the relevant information to make an informed decision is taken to be a proprietary right. It is argued that the property model potentially overcomes the limitations of the consent model, including the obstacle caused by the requirement to prove causation in consent cases. The author proposes that this model could in the future provide an alternative or complementary approach for the courts to consider when dealing with cases relating to self-determination in health care.
'This book is well-researched and referenced; the analysis is clear and coherent, and the chapters read well together. The hypothesis is lucidly defined and rigorously established; it is an original contribution to scholarship in the field. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.’ Remigius N. Nwabueze, University of Southampton, UK ’I am pleased to endorse this book, which explores the subject of consent to medical treatment in an interesting and novel way. The author offers an alternative "property" model as a basis for generating a fresh understanding of the subject in the new climate of greater deference to patient choice. The book will be a valuable contribution to knowledge in this field.’ Vivienne Harpwood, Cardiff University, UK