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Informed Consent

(with a great definition of rational ideas by Jack Trimpey)

Informed consent: permission obtained from a patient to perform a specific test or procedure.

Informed consent is required before performing surgery and before admitting a patient to a research study. The document used must be written in a language understood by the patient. It must be dated and signed by the patient and at least one witness. Included in the document are clear, rational statements that describe the procedure or test. They must also clarify the risk to the patient, the expected benefits to the patient, the expected consequences of not allowing the test or procedure, and the other procedures or diagnostic aids that are available. Also required is a statement that care will not be withheld if the patient does not consent. Informed consent is voluntary. By law, informed consent must be obtained more than some specified number of days or hours before certain procedures, including therapeutic abortion and sterilization. It must always be obtained when the patient is fully competent.

Excerpted from Mosby's Medical Encyclopedia
Copyright (c) 1994-5, 1996, 1997 The Learning Company Inc. All Rights Reserved

What Is Rational?

(from "The Small Book" (1989, 1992), Jack Trimpey, pp. 100-101)

The word "rational" derives from the same Latin root as "reason," referring to the proper exercise of the mind. In RR this vital term is applied as well to a logical system of thought, where formal principles are used to evaluate an idea. When a thought occurs, ask yourself the following (the five-point criteria developed by Maxie Maultsby, M.D.):

  1. If I believe this thought to be true, will it help me remain sober, safe, and alive?
  2. Is this thought objectively true, and upon what evidence am I forming this opinion?
  3. Is this thought producing feelings I want to have?
  4. Is this thought helping me reach a chosen goal?
  5. If this thought likely to minimize conflict with others?

These five criteria are listed in approximate order of significance, and it is against these questions that any line of thought can be evaluated. An idea can fail on one or two criteria and still be fairly rational, because rational thought is self-forgiving, or nonperfectionistic.

Rational thinking in the form of self-talk is something that all of us practice daily in our lives, at least to some extent. We naturally want our beliefs to be true; we want to survive; we prefer positive moods over negative ones, pleasure over pain and so on.

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Last updated 2005/03/17

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