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This paper argues that the provision of effective informed consent by surgical patients requires the disclosure of material information about the comparative clinical performance of available surgeons. We develop a new ethical argument for the conclusion that comparative information about surgeons' performance--surgeons' report cards--should be provided to patients, a conclusion that has already been supported by legal and economic arguments. We consider some recent institutional and legal developments in this area, and we respond to some common objections to the use of report cards on the clinical performance of surgeons.

Original publication




Journal article


J Med Philos

Publication Date





11 - 35


Analytical Approach, Professional Patient Relationship, Benchmarking, Clinical Competence, Disclosure, Ethics, Medical, Humans, Informed Consent, Quality of Health Care, Risk, Surgical Procedures, Operative