Doctors and Informed Consent

Recently there was an article on the US News website that discussed informed consent before heart procedures. The article discussed whether or not informed consent actually worked or not.

The article discussed the effectiveness of informed consent. “More than 40% of the patients said they did not understand or remember the information received as part of informed consent. About 60% of those with coronary artery disease thought PCI would cure the disease, nearly 95% believed it would reduce their risk of a future heart attack, and 91% thought it would help them live longer, according to the study published Nov. 28 in the European Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing.” Many people do not understand or remember what they are told before the procedure, this makes informed consent ineffective because they should know what is going to be happening to them and what the consequences of the procedure will be, before giving consent.

Patients also receive the information in one large statement and then they do not remember what was said, they need to have the information broken up so they can process and remember the information presented to them. “Cardiologists and nurses should be trained to provide small bits of information and then ask patients to explain it in their own words to see how much they’ve understood, she suggested.” Those who present the information should give it in smaller and easier to process bits, so all patients can understand it.

If patients are not understanding what they are being told about the procedures they are going to undergo, can they really be considered informed, and can they truly give consent? They come out of these procedures with unrealistic expectations and then are confused when the outcome is not what they expected. This is why the information these patients are receiving should be in easy to understand bits and not one large chunk. Doctors should not be giving patients such difficult to comprehend information.

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