Informed Consent


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Guidelines for informed consent from the American Medical Association are as follows:


"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."

  It is important to document in the patient's record what is discussed between the patient and doctor regarding the procedure.
  The informed consent form that the patient will sign should reflect the discussion as outlined above.  Signature of the consent form should be witnessed.  If there are items in the consent form that are of particular importance for the patient to understand, then the patient should be required to initial the items.  Some forms require the patient to write out in long hand statements of particular importance.
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