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Code of Medical Ethics: Consent, Communication & Decision Making

Consent and communication support patients’ self-determination and help them make well-considered decisions about their care and treatment.
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To enable patients to participate meaningfully in decisions about health care, physicians have a responsibility to provide information and help patients understand their medical condition and options for treatment.

Informed Consent & Shared Decision Making

Informed consent to medical treatment is fundamental in both ethics and law. It helps patients make well-considered decisions about their care and treatment.

Decisions for Minors

Minor children are not considered to have the capacity to make health care decisions on their own. Nonetheless, physicians have a responsibility to engage minor patients in making decisions about their own care in keeping with the child's ability to participate.

Communication With Patients

Whether they are using electronic communication or social media, expressing political views or engaging in charitable endeavors, physicians must uphold professional standards of behavior to sustain the trust that is the foundation of the patient-physician relationship.

AMA Code of Medical Ethics

Visit the Code of Medical Ethics page to access additional Opinions, the Principles of Medical Ethics and a list of CME courses that are available.

These Opinions are offered as ethics guidance for physicians and are not intended to establish standards of clinical practice or rules of law.

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