Why is informed consent required in health care and what limitations apply to obtaining it?

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  • Marie
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Informed consent means that the medical practitioner is expected to explain the risks and benefits of any proposed therapy before the patient agrees to it. The idea behind the requirement is that the patient needs this information to be able to fully participate in their own treatment. For example, if we are suggesting a CT scan, we have to explain that there is radiation involved and a small risk of reacting to the contrast we might be using. The benefits would be a better chance at accurate diagnosis.

    We are not required to obtain informed consent from the patient if the patient is unable to provide it, either temporarily or permanently. A patient who is unconscious because of an accident is temporarily incapable of giving consent and any lifesaving measures necessary may be taken.

    If the patient is a minor, the parent or guardian is the one to provide informed consent. If an adult patient is not able to understand the risks and benefits, a guardian may be appointed for them either temporarily or permanently. Under certain circumstances, that might involve a court.

    A patient may be capable of providing informed consent on some decisions even if they are not able to do so on others. Someone who is cognitively impaired, for example, may be able to understand the risks and benefits of simple procedures quite well, but may not understand a complicated operation. It is not an all-or-nothing concept.

    Informed consent is at the heart of medical ethics, along with the concepts of beneficience (act in the patient's best interest) and nonmalfeasance (roughly, do no harm).

    Source(s): MD.
  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Informed consent means that the procedure one is about to endure has been thoroughly explained to someone before any drug has been administered. This keeps doctors and hospitals safe from law suits. The only limitations I can think of is that you cannot sign a consent as a minor or if you are under the influence of something, or if you really don't understand the consequences.

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