Informed Consent in Thailand: What Standard Is It? Which One Should It Be?


  • Khajorndej Direksoonthorn Office of the President of the Supreme Court of Thailand


The concept of informed consent has long been observed in the Thai medical community. However, an appropriate standard prescribing a physician’s duty to disclose medical information has never been comprehensively discussed in Thailand. Moreover, to the best of my knowledge, the Supreme Court of Thailand has never decided any case where a party claims informed consent as a cause of action either. This paper seeks to fill that gap. I also anticipate that this kind of cause of action will definitely be the disputed issue for the Supreme Court to decide in the foreseeable future.

In this paper, I provide the analysis of the current statute governing informed consent in Thailand. More importantly, I argue that the appropriate standard of disclosure for Thailand should be the professional or physician-based standard. The physician has a duty to disclose only the information other reasonable physicians would reveal to their patients in similar circumstances. For Thailand, this standard is more suitable than the patient-centered standard in terms of both cultural and legal contexts. The standard can effectively safeguard the patient autonomy as well as work to his/her advantage in litigation. The U.S. doctrine of informed consent is comparatively discussed throughout the paper.