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CMAJ. 1996 August 15; 155(4): 387–391.
PMCID: PMC1488047

Bioethics for clinicians: 2. Disclosure.


In the context of patient consent, "disclosure" refers to the provision of relevant information by the clinician and its comprehension by the patient. Both elements are necessary for valid consent. Disclosure should inform the patient adequately about the treatment and its expected effects, relevant alternative options and their benefits and risks, and the consequences of declining or delaying treatment. The clinician's goal is to disclose information that a reasonable person in the patient's position would need in order to make an informed decision. Therefore, clinicians may need to consider how the proposed treatment (and other options) might affect the patient's employment, finances, family life and other personal concerns. Clinicians may also need to be sensitive to cultural and religious beliefs that can affect disclosure.

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Selected References

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