One thing that you find out pretty quickly when you have a disability is that the moment that label is applied to you, you never really get to own or control your body again. There are lots of different ways that doctors can control your body when you have a disability. For example, they can place a hold on you which declares you a danger to yourself and others and that means that you are basically incarcerated in a hospital for 72 hours which theoretically can only be extended so many times, but can end up resulting in far longer hospital stays. They can put you on a community treatment order where you are made to comply with a doctor’s treatment plan for you such as attending regular ECT treatments as a condition of being able to remain in the community. Although both of these examples primarily apply to mental health, don’t be fooled into thinking that those with physical or cognitive disabilities are any better off.
Theoretically, informed consent is supposed to allow patients to be informed of exactly what procedure will be done to them, how the procedure works (with as much detail as the patient is comfortable with), provide the patient with an opportunity to ask any questions that they might have about the procedure, including benefits, drawbacks and other options and allow patients the opportunity to refuse to consent to a procedure they don’t feel is necessary or beneficial. However, I think that true informed consent is rarely, if ever, realized. There are too many other factors that intervene.