There is no gainsaying the fact that Doctors and Lawyers understand the issue of consent better than other Professionals. I have to briefly explain the concept of Consent from a Doctor’s angle of vision, following which you will understand why Second Referendum is not an infringement on the First Referendum under certain conditions.
Consent is defined as an express permission given free willingly, uninfluenced, with some flexibility attached to carry out an examination, investigation or procedure including surgery on
Someone who is deemed to have the capacity to fully comprehend the raison d’être (Compus mentus) or permission given by proxy through the close relatives, courts among others.
Consent can be written or verbal and Consent can be valid or invalid.
For Consent to be valid it must be an informed, reinforced and flexible meaning the Patient has to understand in very clear terms, unambiguously the planned procedure, the reason for it, the alternatives to it which could include no intervention, known complications that can arise from the procedure and how you intend to deal with them and preferably one must be given the percentage likelihood of things going wrong (Likelihood ratio). In summary therefore, Patient must understand at every point of their care all about his / her problems, choices and planned interventions and the reason behind it, how the procedure is done and this is what is called informed consent. It does not end with the verbal and written (signed) authorisation but it has to be fully reinforced with additional information through leaflets and relevant web addresses to source more information on the subject matter. Finally Consent has to be flexible meaning the Patient can always be allowed to change his or her mind without dictatorial compulsion. Expression like You just signed that you wanted this procedure, I am afraid there is no going back. You must have it whether you like it or not. This will of course be classify as BULLY. Patient can always be allowed to change her mind for various reasons (a) Her situation has improved so planned procedure is no longer required. (2) She has extensively consulted and researched and now scared to proceed with the planned procedure (3) She is scared about the potential risks that he or she is not at the moment psychologically ready. She may or may not decide in future to proceed and this must be respected.
Uninformed, partly informed, Wrongly informed Consent is already dead on arrival, invalid and has no legal backing. That Patient signed a Consent form he or she did not understand does not make it valid. It is just another piece of paper that need to be thrashed. It follows therefore that information is more important than the signature.
HOW DOES THE ABOVE INFORMATION APPLICABLE IN BREXIT SITUATION.
First and foremost the decision reached on Brexit was based spinning, lies, deception and therefore highly influenced to state authoritatively that that was what People want. So it fails the test of informed consent, reinforcement as extra effort was not made to ensure that People understand beyond reasonable doubts the issue they were to give consent about.
In summary it was poorly informed, wrongly informed, influenced consent therefore legally NULL and VOID.
Secondary, the Brexit decision which we have all without equivocation agreed was flawed from the beginning (ab-initio) also lacked the flexibility that is attached to consent that is right to give and withdraw consent. People are told you voted for this, just get on with it. You no longer have a say as we will now decide for you henceforth and you are no longer entitled to have another opinion. On top of it they are talking about Democracy what a hypocrisy and total balderdash. The bottom line is that the first democratic decision does not invalidate the second human right democratic decision. It is democratic to take a decision and it is equally democratic to change your mind especially when you have more information based on further research and personal or collective horrible experience. There should be no obstruction put on the way as this can boomerang (infringement on People rights of freedom to give and withdraw consent.) Second Referendum is the only decision that is democratic in this quagmire we find ourselves, as final power must rest with the People and not with the President and not even the Parliament. Under normal circumstances the aforementioned Representatives can take decision on our behalf however under this exceptional circumstances with thorny complex irreconcilable issues, only the People decision can give the democratic answer without any complication and ramifications. The reason is simple, People will pick up the pieces and the cross / sacrifices for any decision taken and they will be more cooperative if they are consulted to decide, as they will feel respected and involved in the decision making process in a dilematous circumstance. Ignore and neglect them to your peril and heads can easily roll. A word is enough for the wise.
This will represent my humble contribution to the discourse.
Dr Joseph Dozie Chinweze (UK) Writer & Medical Doctor