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Fairy tales are so appealing because ultimately they reduce complex human encounters to enchanting simplicity. In listening to them we suspend judgment and believe that once upon a time it was, and maybe even today it is, possible to utter magic words or perform magic deeds which transform frogs into princes or punish greedy fishermen's wives. The phrase "informed consent" evokes the same magic expectations. Its protagonists often convey that once kissed by the doctrine, frog-patients will become autonomous princes. Its antagonists warn that all the gold of good medical care which physicians now so magnanimously bestow on patients will turn to worthless metal if the curse of informed consent were to remain with us.
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