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What is the importance of informed consent?

As a patient, it's important that you're given all the information you can get about your upcoming medical procedure. Whether it's a minor surgery or major treatment program, it's necessary for you to know all the potential side effects, complications and factors that could play a role in your recovery.

If a doctor does not take the time to talk to you about those things, then you are not informed about your procedure. As a result, you have no documents showing that you have been informed, and even if you consent to the procedure, you didn't provide informed consent.

Doctors are meant to obtain an informed consent document from their patients. These documents give you information that help you make an informed choice about whether or not you want to go through with a procedure. It talks about benefits and side effects.

The American Medical Association only believes that patients should make decisions once they understand the treatment options fully. Without an informed consent, a doctor is doing a patient a disservice.

Informed consent documents should contain several things including your diagnosis, if it's known, the reason you're receiving a certain treatment, the benefits or risks of the procedure, potential alternative treatments, the benefits and risks of alternative treatments and the risks to you if you choose not to have the procedure performed.

This isn't required for all procedures, but for those that are scheduled in advance, it's a document you should have to sign. If you are hurt and did not know about the potential for complications, your doctor could be at fault. That would mean that you could have a case for medical malpractice.

Source: Amino, "Not all doctors get "informed consent" from patients—here’s why it matters," Nichole Bazemore, accessed Feb. 07, 2018

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