Informed consent is the concept that a patient who is informed of all the issues of a certain medical treatment may undergo that treatment on their own responsibility. It usually requires the signing of a special release form.
Of particular interest is informed consent in regard to transsexual hormone therapy and surgery. Hormonal Replacement Therapy (HRT) represents a valid therapeutic approach for those who have been diagnosed with Gender Identity Disorder / Dysphoria or as a Transsexual.
Editor's Note: While discussion of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and its medications is permitted, discussing the means to acquire them without a prescription, and self medication without a doctors care is prohibited. We cannot in good conscience condone the self administering of these medications. Not only may self medication be illegal there can also be serious health consequences resulting from the taking of these medicines. See a qualified medical professional before taking any prescription drugs.
Informed consent is a legally-defined process of a person being told about key facts involved in a clinical treatment before deciding whether or not to participate. To fully describe participation to a candidate subject, the doctors and nurses involved in the treatment explain the details of the procedures using terms the person will understand.
The physician provides an informed consent document that includes treatment details, such as its purpose, duration, required procedures, risks, potential benefits and key contacts. The participant then decides whether or not to sign the document in agreement. Informed consent is not an immutable contract, as the participant can withdraw at any time without penalty.
While relatively recently founded, ICATH (INFORMED CONSENT for ACCESS TO TRANS HEALTH) claims to be an alternative to WPATH Standards of Care based medical models. Persons who wish to use an ICATH participating provider must meet with an "advocate" during the evaluation process before hormone or surgical care is provided.
By comparison, the Standards of Care in its current version allow for the provider's nursing staff to assess the patient for ability to consent to hormone therapy although many providers continue to use the previous version's care model which requires a referral from a mental health practitioner. For genital surgery, most providers operate under the WPATH model which requires two letters of referral from mental health practitioners. Some urologists are willing to perform orchiectomy on only one letter of recommendation or informed consent, depending on their standards of care.
Informed consent in ethics usually refers to the idea that a person must be fully-informed about and understand the potential benefits and risks of their choice of treatment. An uninformed person is at risk of mistakenly making a choice not reflective of his or her values or wishes. It does not specifically mean the process of obtaining consent, nor the specific legal requirements, which vary from place to place, for capacity to consent. Patients can elect to make their own medical decisions, or can delegate decision-making authority to another party. If the patient is incapacitated, laws around the world designate different processes for obtaining informed consent, typically by having a person appointed by the patient or their next of kin make decisions for them. The value of informed consent is closely related to the values of autonomy and truth telling.
Organizations using an informed consent protocol
- Planned Parenthood
Fulton Street Health Center
650 N. Fulton Street
Fresno, CA 93728
- The Dimensions Clinic
3850 17th Street
San Francisco, CA 94114
- Ciaccio Memorial Clinic (Tuesday Night Clinic)
North Park Family Health Center
3544 30th Street
San Diego, CA 92104
- Family Health Centers of San Diego
- Tom Waddell Health Center
San Francisco, CA
- Lyon-Martin Health Services
San Francisco, CA
- Howard Brown Health Center
- Sharon Lee, M.D.
Southwest Boulevard Clinic
340 Southwest Boulevard
Kansas City, KS 66103
- Fenway Health
- Callen-Lorde Community Health Center
New York, NY
- Mazzoni Center
- Fan Free Clinic
1010 North Thompson Street
Richmond, VA 23230
District of Columbia
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