Since its advent in the 20th century, informed consent has become a cornerstone of ethical healthcare, and obtaining it a core obligation in medical contexts . In my dissertation, I examine the theoretical underpinnings of informed consent, and identify what values it is taken to protect. I suggest that the fundamental justification for informed consent rests in something I call “bodily self-sovereignty”, which I suggest involves a coupling of 2 groups of values: autonomy and non-domination on the one hand, and self-ownership and personal integrity on the other. I then go on to consider two ‘case studies’ I take to shed light on what is at stake in securing informed consent – consent in psychiatrically ill populations, and consent to research that involves modification of the genetic germline.
I work primarily in biomedical ethics. In addition to expanding the work on informed consent I began in my dissertation, I am currently exploring the idea of indirect consent, as well as the relationship between indecision and decisional capacity. I am also interested in epistemic injustice in medical care, particularly with respect to incapacitated patients. Additionally, I have papers currently in progress regarding the ethics of germline gene editing, psychiatric ethics, and ECMO and medical futility.