Consent to Medical Treatment
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The application of any force to the person of another is, broadly speaking, an assault in law. The degree of force used is immaterial. Even a gesture or threat, which is such that the person threatened reasonably believes that force will be applied, may be an assault. It will be readily understood that the application of the slightest physical force may be an assault. On this basis any surgical procedure, no matter how trivial, would be an assault. A hypodermic injection, a vaccination, the mere palpation of an abdomen, would all be assaults. What then is it that removes these acts, when done by a medical practitioner, from the sphere of illegality? It is consent by the patient; and this consent renders the act, which would ordinarily be illegal, innocent.