implied consent

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The situation in which a patient or client submits to procedures, etc., but has not provided formal informed consent. A person who responds to questions in a telephone survey is granting implied consent to participate in a study. A patient who offers an arm and a vein for a physician to withdraw a sample of blood is implying consent to the procedure. Implied consent is ethically, morally, and legally insufficient when the consequences of the procedure could be harmful. For instance, if the blood is to be tested for HIV infection, the possible consequences of a positive test, e.g., loss of employment and insurance benefits, are so serious that it is essential to obtain informed consent formally and in writing.

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology.

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