Watching Brian die: The rhetoric and reality of informed consent

Rose Weitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Two years ago, my brother-in-law was injured in a catastrophic industrial accident, which left him with second and third degree burns over 95 percent of his body. Writing both as a family member and as a sociologist, I analyse how his doctors increased their decision-making authority at the expense of informed consent, explore why they did so, and discuss the consequences for families when informed consent is not obtained. I also discuss the difficulties of achieving informed consent when family members have conflicting views on treatment. The conclusions use this story to reflect on the problems of implementing informed consent in clinical practice and on what these problems tell us about US doctors' continuing power and clinical autonomy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)209-227
Number of pages19
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1999


  • Bioethics
  • Burns
  • Informed consent
  • Physicians

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)


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