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Patient Consent and the Law

Patients being the consumer-partners, medical professionals are necessary to bring the patient on the discussion table rather than obtaining consent from them before beginning the treatment, especially surgery.

Consent thus becomes a legal key to open the treatment formalities. However, consent revealed by a patient can not be taken as a permanent pass given by him/her. Patients’ consent is liable to be changed as dissent at any time and this aspect must have to be borne in mind by the health professionals and allow them in the course of their decision making. Consent can either be oral or in writing. However legal validity is found in the written and signed consent form.

Obtaining consent from the patients is relatively a difficult job for certain modes of the treatment process, especially sharing patient identifiable information with clinical audit database. (Patrica A Mckinney et al, 2005). Len Doyal’s (1997) suggestion of obtaining ‘blanket ‘ approval at the outset is useful at some cases but has to undergo further research on the way as some ethical issues can not be cleared in such ‘blanket’ approval, especially when the patient’s consent is accepted with their fluidity.

While basic consent is simply informing the patient of the treatment stage and the minimal effect of it, informed consent is bringing the patient into a dialogue of decision- making after providing him/her with the relevant medical facts of treatment. To put in layman terms, informed consent means the consent given by a patient after being informed of all the necessary information about treatment options. The necessary information includes
To get informed consent from patients, physicians and nurses must assess the understanding capacity of the patient and their propensity to accept the treatment option placed before them. This practically possible only when they are interacted with.

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