Consent to Medical Treatment and the Autonomous Power of Adult Patients: The Malaysian Legal Position
A patient has the exclusive rights to determine what he wants or do not want to be done to his body. In this context, consent becomes a crucial factor that must be present before a doctor is allowed to treat his patient. Under the common law, an adult patient has the legal rights to determine the treatment that he wish to undergo and will subsequently consent to. This must be done when that patient still has the capacity to give consent and it must be given voluntarily without interference by any person. This relates to the rights of an individual patient to make decision autonomously whether to give consent or to refuse to give consent. In view of this legal position, the issue that will be the focus of discussion in this article is whether a patient who has the right to give consent also has the same right to refuse treament in Malaysia. Therefore it is the aim of this article to examine the law relating to consent to medical treatment by an adult patient in Malaysia together with the right of refusal.It is found that in order to exercise his autonomous power, a patient has the right to give or to refuse to give consent. This right exists even where the patient had lost his capacity to do so. The method of making the consent or refusal is known to the attending doctor (s) is an area that must be further researched on. This can be done by srutinising the role of an Advance Medical Directive in conveying the consent to medical treatment or the refusal thereof of an incapacitated patientand therole of the proxy appointed to execute the directive. Therefore this article can serve as a basis for the enactment of a specific statute addressing this issue.
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Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences ISSN 2039-9340(Print) ISSN 2039-2117(Online)
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