Health care in a multicultural Canada: the ethics of informed consent and the duty to warn of hereditary risk




Dheri, Poonam

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



Different people can have different cultural interpretations of the person—atomic versus embedded—and these may affect health care decision-making. This study examines both the ethics of variations in personhood as well as their implications for the doctrine of informed consent and the duty to warn of genetic disease risk. It argues that variations in personhood are consistent with the ethics of the Principle of Autonomy and the Canadian stand on informed consent, though autonomy and consent play out differently in practice on the two models. Also as a result of different interpretations of the person, the duty to warn of hereditary risk is found to be relevant to the atomic conception but unnecessary among embedded individuals.



personhood, autonomy, medical decision-making, informed consent, duty to warn, genetics