Conducted by project partner AND-CG, the paper addresses the problem of ‘premature consent’ as understood by J.K. Davis (2018) which denotes patient decisions that are: (i) formulated prior to discussion with the appropriate healthcare professional (HCP); (ii) based on information from unreliable sources (e.g. parts of the internet); and (iii) resolutely maintained despite the HCP having provided alternative reliable information.

HCPs are not obliged to respect premature consent patients’ demands for unindicated treatments. But why? What is it that premature consent patients do or get wrong? Davis has argued that premature consent patients are incompetent and misinformed. Andrew P. Rebera and Dimitris Dimitriou, paper authors, argue that this view is not sustainable. A more plausible position asserts that premature consent threatens the integrity of the medical profession.

The authors defend that this gives rise to a negative patient duty (to not obstruct HCPs in upholding the integrity of the medical profession) which premature consent patients fail to honour. Rebera and Dimitriou argue for a further positive duty of good faith engagement in shared decision-making. This implies willingness to potentially revise or justify one’s evaluative bases (core assumptions, beliefs, values, etc.). Fundamentally, the problem with premature consent patients is that certain of their evaluative bases are not open to revision. They therefore fail in their duty to participate faithfully in the shared decision-making process.

The paper has been published on Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy. Read the full paper here.