This article discusses the utility of Perske’s “dignity of risk” as a use-ful heuristic to explain the consent process for a study to evaluate central thalamic deep brain stimulation as a means to restore cognitive function in moderate to severe brain injury. Narratives of interviews with subjects and their families from a related BRAIN Initiative study reveal discordant views on risk, with subjects being more risk-tolerant than their loved ones. This is a challenge for families who remain protective of subjects who have recovered to the point that they are capable of independent decision-mak-ing. While the legal threshold for consent has been met, normative and psychological challenges remain as families accommodate themselves to the reemergent agency of the subject. Dignity of risk is a constructive framework to apprehend how families come to appreciate the primacy of the subject’s voice and affirm their reemergent agency following a devastating brain injury.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Issues, ethics and legal aspects
- Health Policy
- History and Philosophy of Science