What is Informed Consent in medicine?
Many times when you go to the clinic, or to a hospital, your doctor or healthcare provider will recommend some tests in order to determine and isolate the problem. You may even require invasive procedures to do the same.
Here is where Informed Consent comes into play. You see, the medical associations are required to offer the patients a choice as to what procedures and tests they are comfortable with. You have absolute authority to consent, amend, or refuse a medical examination or procedure that you do not want.
There may be an exception to this rule when it comes to an emergency situation where you may be unable to give consent for emergency procedures. But, besides that, you have the liberty to allow or disallow any medical interaction.
In short, you have the right to refuse or accept your medical treatment.
Why is Informed Consent in Healthcare important?
In the healthcare Industry, Informed Consent plays a major role in preventing unethical behavior by medical professionals. Whether it’s an endocrinologist, a psychiatrist, a urologist, or whichever specialist fits your requirement, it is important that they inform you of your rights to refuse the interaction, diagnostic test, or treatment (preventative or otherwise).
Patients get to make an informed decision about their health and how they see fit to deal with their condition. When they voluntarily provide Informed Consent, it translates to knowing every manner of psychological and physiological invasion that they might have to endure. Informed consent is an agreement.
What is required by the healthcare provider in regards to giving information and obtaining Informed Consent?
As a healthcare professional, you must take special measures to ensure that the patient fully comprehends their medical intervention in its entirety. You must explain the measures that must be taken and the patient’s role in the decision-making process. If need be, you must also suggest alternative methods of treatment and discuss all the risks and threats of every procedure.
Patients should be made aware of any benefits, and known potential side effects, and be honest when informing patients of a gap in knowledge pertaining to scientific literature available in regard to the procedure, treatment, or preventative measure being offered.
In the event of an emergency procedure to contain further damage or if the patient is unable to provide consent, you can look for alternative means such as approaching a family member or guardian.
What is required to provide Informed Consent as a patient?
Informed Consent is the right of the patient. Therefore, it entails that the patient is fully informed about their medical condition and the tests and procedures that the medical practitioner recommends. If they are consulting a mental health professional, then they must understand which parts of the conversation may not be bound under confidentiality.
The patient must also be of sound mind and in control of their mental faculties while making an informed decision, and they must not be coerced or incapacitated while providing voluntary Informed Consent.
History of Informed Consent & The Nuremberg Code
Informed Consent has quite the checkered past. Before the American judges intervened to pass this exemplary law in 1947, Nazi doctors were known to be conducting various atrocious activities and experiments on their patients. Most of it was torturous and sometimes even led to fatal outcomes. In order to end this cycle of trauma, the Nuremberg Code was passed and these medical trials by qualified medical professionals were terminated for the betterment of mankind.