Informed Consent in Patients With Acute Abdominal Pain
British Journal of Surgery. 1998 Sep; 85(9): 1278-1280.
BACKGROUND: This study aimed to establish perceptions of informed consent in patients undergoing surgery for acute abdominal conditions. METHODS: A prospective observational study was carried out using a structured questionnaire-based interview technique in patients undergoing surgery for acute abdominal conditions. Main outcome measures were to establish the effects of pain and preoperative analgesia on informed consent, patient comprehension of planned surgery and the degree of discussion of potential side-effects and complications. RESULTS: Thirty-one of 49 patients perceived that pain did not interfere with their ability to give informed consent. Forty of 48 stated that preoperative analgesia did not impair their ability to give informed consent. Forty-two understood why an operation was being planned but 28 patients stated that there had been no preoperative discussion of any potential side-effects or complications of surgery. CONCLUSION: In this study the majority of patients perceived that they retained the ability to give informed consent despite the effects of pain and analgesia. Although the majority of patients understood why an operation was being planned there is a clear need for improved discussion of potential side-effects and complications.
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