In recent years the family doctor has been seen less as a devoted healer more as a technician working in a sophisticated health system. Related to the technical advances is the question of whether a specific treatment will best benefit the patient, or the status of the doctor or institution. Against this background Sheila McLean examines the right of the patient to consent to or refuse treatment and the right of the patient to receive full information about the risks associated with a particular course of treatment so that an informed decision can be made. Particular attention is paid to the position of children and the mentally handicapped in this context. The book considers the extent to which legal systems do or do not protect the patient?s rights and analyses the mechanisms provided by the law to redress possible grievances and to protect fundamental rights.