Are we taking a legally valid consent?
The practice of modern medicine has expanded over years to command so much influence in increasing the life span and quality of life of patients to a great extent. The increasing financial implications and the complex social settings of these decisions raise new ethical questions regarding what is good and what is right in the behaviour of doctors and patients. Respect for the wishes of the patient is a duty which becomes even stronger when the patient is vulnerable. Every human being of adult years and of sound mind has the right to determine what shall be done with his body and a surgeon who performs an operation without the patient’s consent commits an insult for which he is liable to damages.
Medical treatment has become a joint venture combining the doctor and the patient. The purpose of the informed consent principle is to empower the patient to make correct autonomous decisions. Informed consent is an educational process with both ethical and legal implications, whereby a person is said to have given consent based upon a clear appreciation and understanding of the facts, implications and future consequences of an action. Awareness among the patients with respect to their rights, has forced the medical community to be more vigilant when dealing with patient care. Informed consent is a prerequisite and is mandatory for participation in scientific research and in clinical teaching.