Informed Consent and Movie

Topics: Informed consent, Autonomy, Truth Pages: 5 (1693 words) Published: August 11, 2013
It’s very evident that judging others is a part of human nature. We all have done it. Transamerica is a movie that deals with a man by the name of Stanley who faces many obstacles on his journey as a transsexual. The movie specifically shows how much difficulty a person who is interested in getting a male-to-female sexual reassignment surgery faces. Not only this, there are many medical ethics related concepts that go hand in hand with this particular movie.

Let’s start with our first concept known as truth telling. According to, truth telling is defined as “the avoidance of lying, deception, misrepresentation, and non-disclosure in interactions with patients or relevant to patient care”. Transamerica had a lot of scenes that violated this concept. For example, in the beginning of the movie Stanly (also later known as Bree) has a conversation with his therapist who asks him about his family. He replied “I don’t have family, they are dead”. In this scene he was lying because he was not close to his parents due to the fact that he was not sure if they would accept his sexual orientation. There were other scenes as well where Stanley could not help but lie to his son about who he really was. His son assumed he was a female by the name of Bree...but this only lasted for so long until he found out the truth. All these scenes violated the medical ethics concept known as truth telling in my opinion.

The next concept I noticed in the movie is paternalism. According to, paternalism is defined as “the context of healthcare is constituted by any action, decision, rule, or policy made by a physician or other care-giver, or a government, that dictated what is best of the patient(s) without considering the patient’s own belief and value system and does not respect patient autonomy. In this movie there was a scene where Stanley hands his consent form asking his therapist for a signature. His therapist, Margret, would not sign it. In fact she said “I want you to be ready for this surgery”…” I don’t want you to go through with this surgery only to realize you have something left incomplete in your life”. Margret showed her paternal side in this scene because she wanted what she felt is best for Stanley. This particular scene also goes well with the concept beneficence. Beneficence is defined as “the doing of active goodness, kindness, or charity, including all actions intended to benefit others” (According to By advising Stanley, Margret clearly was not gaining anything. She simply wanted what was best for Stanley. She did not want Stanley to regret his decision therefore she was looking out for him. In other words, she wanted him to do the only thing she knew that would benefit him.

Battery is the next concept that played a part in this movie. Battery is defined as “intentional and wrongful physical contact with a person without his or her consent that entails some injury and offensive touching” (according to the Book-Medical Ethics and Humanities). In Transamerica, Stanley brings his son to meet his step father, whose character he was not fully aware of. Toby (stanley’s son) was repeatedly molested by his step father during his childhood. Toby was approached by his step father who wanted to hug him. Toby, in anger, punches his step dad knocking him out completely. This scene is an example of battery. You cannot hit a person just because you feel like it. Toby’s action caused his stepfather to be injured and at the same time obviously his stepfather did not give consent to be hit therefore this scene, again, goes perfectly with the concept known as battery.

The next concept I noticed in this movie is Quid Pro Quo. Websites like,, and a book by the name of “Business Ethics” written by: William H. Shaw define Quid Pro Quo as “giving something in return for something else”, in other words...
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