What is INFORMED CONSENT?
“Doctors will give you information about a particular treatment or test in order for you to decide whether or not you wish to undergo such treatment or test. This process of understanding the risks and benefits of treatment is known as informed consent. It is based on the moral and legal premise of patient autonomy: You as the patient have the right to make decisions about your own health and medical conditions.”
“You must give your voluntary, informed consent for treatment and for most medical tests and procedures. The legal term for failing to obtain informed consent before performing a test or procedure on a patient is called battery (a form of assault).” EMedicineHealth
“Informed consent is more than simply getting a patient to sign a written consent form.
It is a process of communication between a patient and physician that results in the patient’s authorization or agreement to undergo a specific medical intervention.”
“In the communications process, you, as the physician providing or performing the treatment and/or procedure (not a delegated representative), should disclose and discuss with your patient:
The patient’s diagnosis, if known; The nature and purpose of a proposed treatment or procedure; The risks and benefits of a proposed treatment or procedure; Alternatives
(regardless of their cost or the extent to which the treatment options are covered by health insurance);The risks and benefits of the alternative treatment or procedure; and The risks and benefits of not receiving or undergoing a treatment or procedure. In turn, your patient should have an opportunity to ask questions to elicit a better understanding of the treatment or procedure, so that he or she can make an informed decision to proceed or to refuse a particular course of medical intervention.
This communications process, or a variation thereof, is both an ethical obligation and a legal requirement spelled out in statutes and case law in all 50 states.”
It is interesting to see the explanation of what policy (and even the law) says “informed consent” should look like in contrast to what it actually looks like in practice. We all remember days when our child went in for “routine vaccinations” and we were given the consent form to sign quickly. What were we consenting to? What were the proposed benefits? Possible risks? Alternatives? Were we given time to ask questions to the MD and get balanced answers, not unrealistic assurances? Did we decide? Was is voluntary, or did we feel like we had no other option? If this did not happen appropriately every time, it could legally be considered a form of assault…