The process of informed consent is basically a communication between the patient and the doctor culminating in the patient’s agreement to undergo a specific medical procedure. Any patient’s right to self-decision can only be effectively exercised if the patient possesses enough information to enable them to make an intelligent choice. The crux of informed consent is therefore disclosure.
The essential elements of disclosure to be provided to the patient include:
- The nature of the proposed procedure
- The reason the procedure is being suggested
- The benefits of the procedure
- The risks and complications of the procedure
- Any alternatives to the procedure
Your consultation should have addressed all the above issues. Further to this, however, a detailed consent form has also been devised which again highlights most of the issues raised above and will need to be signed on the day of surgery. You must understand that this is a legal necessity and that all hospitals require this before any patient proceeds to surgery.
Due to the detailed nature of this document, however, it would seem appropriate to allow you plenty of time to read through this before actually signing it on the day of surgery. As such, a specimen of the informed consent is attached in the following pages. Please read through this very carefully and note any questions that you may have so that our clinic addresses these prior to your acceptance.
Please note that signing and acceptance of the points in the consent form do not affect your statutory rights.
You must please understand that this disclosure is not meant to scare or alarm you. In fact, as already mentioned, most of the points will have been highlighted during your consultation. Overall, it is simply a further effort to make you better informed so that you may give or withhold your consent to treatment accordingly.
In truth, although this consent form is very detailed in outlining situations and conditions which can theoretically arise as a result of surgery (however small a chance), it is also worth bearing in mind that the vast majority of patients recover uneventfully without ever experiencing any of the mentioned complications. Likewise, however, informed consent would not be informed consent if you were not at least made aware of most if not all-possible complications.
Always remember that being well informed allows you to be in control and is therefore in your best interest!