ESSENTIAL ELEMENTS OF INFORMED CONSENT
- A doctor must take the consent of the patient before commencing a treatment/procedure
- Consent must be taken from the patient himself
- The patient should have the capacity and competence to consent
- Consent should be free and voluntary
- Consent should be on the basis of adequate information concerning the nature of the treatment procedure.
- Consent should be procedure specific
- Prior to examining or observing patients for educational purpose, their consent must be taken.
- A fresh written informed consent must be obtained prior to every surgical procedure that includes re-exploration procedure.
- Consent for illegal procedures is invalid
WHO SHOULD SIGN THE CONSENT
Consent has to be signed by any person who is conscious, mentally sound and is of and above twelve years of age. Even in emergency unless patient is unconscious the consent offered by the parents of major is void and amounts to negligence.
WHEN A CONSENT IS NOT VALID
Consent given under fear, fraud or misrepresentation of facts, or by a person who is ignorant of the implications of the consent, or who is under 12 years of age is invalid. In most of the cases filed against the doctors it is alleged that no consent was obtained. Obtaining of a consent will thus be a cornerstone of protection against litigation. Depending upon the circumstances in each case consent may be implied, express or informed.
IMPORTANCE OF CONSENT IN TELEMEDICINE
In telemedicine also, Informed Consent is as important as in routine practice, fully explaining the benefits, consequences and the risks. It will be professional misconduct if consent is not obtained. They should fully explain to patient about his disease, treatment and its side effects, potential risks and benefits and alternative lines of treatment and should give the patient sufficient time to decide and ever guarantee an outcome, as patient is frustrated when this does not happen in some cases. Wherever consent is required, it should be taken, preferably, written informed consent and it should not be blanket consent.
PRIVACY AND CONFIDENTIALITY
Privacy refers to “persons and to their interest in controlling the access of others to themselves”. Safeguarding this information is a key part of the relationship of trust and respect that exists between the doctor and the patient. Depending on the type of treatment whatever data are collected,
doctor may take several steps to ensure the confidentiality of their patients‟ information by use codes.
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