Informed consent for genetic testing in hematology

Informed consent for genetic testing in hematology
Jonathan M. Marron
Hematology, 4 December 2020; 1 pp 213–218
Open Access
Informed consent is a fundamental component of modern health care. All competent adult patients have the legal and ethical authority to accept (consent) or refuse (dissent) recommended health-related interventions. Various models of informed consent have been described, and herein I introduce a model that divides informed consent into 7 distinct elements: competence, voluntariness, disclosure, recommendation, understanding, decision, and authorization. Genetic testing, which is rapidly becoming a common feature of both clinical care and research in hematology, adds additional layers of complexity to each of these consent elements. Using the example case of Mr. Smith, a man with newly diagnosed acute myeloid leukemia whose clinicians offer him genetic testing of the leukemia through a clinical trial, I highlight the challenges and controversies of informed consent for genetic testing, focusing on each consent element as it pertains to genetic testing in such a setting. Ultimately, given the growing importance of genetic testing for hematologic disorders, clinicians, and researchers in hematology should be facile at participating in all aspects of informed consent for genetic testing.

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