Informed Consent in Thailand: What Standard Is It? Which One Should It Be?
Asia Pacific Journal of Health Law & Ethics, July 2019; (12)3 pp 1-32
The concept of informed consent has long been observed in the Thai medical community. However, an appropriate standard prescribing a physician’s duty to disclose medical information has never been comprehensively discussed in Thailand. Moreover, to the best of my knowledge, the Supreme Court of Thailand has never decided any case where a party claims informed consent as a cause of action either. This paper seeks to fill that gap. I also anticipate that this kind of cause of action will definitely be the disputed issue for the Supreme Court to decide in the foreseeable future.
In this paper, I provide the analysis of the current statute governing informed consent in Thailand. More importantly, I argue that the appropriate standard of disclosure for Thailand should be the professional or physician-based standard. The physician has a duty to disclose only the information other reasonable physicians would reveal to their patients in similar circumstances. For Thailand, this standard is more suitable than the patient-centered standard in terms of both cultural and legal contexts. The standard can effectively safeguard the patient autonomy as well as work to his/her advantage in litigation. The U.S. doctrine of informed consent is comparatively discussed throughout the paper.