Informed consent Hong Kong style : An instance of moderate familism

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)195-206
Journal / PublicationJournal of Medicine and Philosophy
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2004


This paper examines the practice of informed consent in Hong Kong by drawing on structured interviews conducted with eleven physicians, three patients, and four family members primarily at a well-established public hospital in Hong Kong. The findings of this study show that the Hong Kong approach to medical decision-making lies somewhere between that of America on the one hand, and mainland China on the other. It is argued that the practice of medical decision-making in Hong Kong can be modeled by a moderate familism that is directed towards achieving the best interests of the patient (1) as understood by the physician, (2) in consultation with the family, (3) under the prima facie presumption that consent is not required for disclosure of information to the family, (4) while aiming at an eventual albeit frequently partial and vague disclosure to the patient.

Research Area(s)

  • Breaking bad news, Decision-making for competent and incompetent patients, Informed consent, Moderate familism