Informed Consent: Patients' and Junior Doctors' Perceptions of the Consent Procedure
Clinical Otolaryngology. 1997 Dec; 22(6): 515-518.
The important task of obtaining informed consent is often left to the most junior member of the surgical team, whose understanding of the surgical procedures involved may be limited. Little is known about patients' and junior doctors' satisfaction with the consent procedure, which was studied with the use of questionnaires. The vast majority of patients (95%) were satisfied with the explanation given to them prior to obtaining consent although 45% thought that the doctor who signed the consent form would be performing the surgery. Thirty-seven per cent of the junior doctors questioned admitted to obtaining consent for procedures of which they had little understanding. The majority of both junior doctors and patients felt that the surgeon performing surgery should sign the consent form. Junior doctors cannot be expected to obtain informed consent for procedures they do not fully understand and patients's; expectations must be taken into consideration if the seemingly inexorable rise in medico-legal litigation is to be halted.
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