Watching a loved one go through a challenging time in their lives is always emotional, but it can be even more so when you feel as though you’re out of control of the outcome of their decisions. Informed consent is a legal term that refers to the requirement of medical professionals to obtain consent from an individual and to ensure that the person fully understands the gravity of their decision. This could include gaining the patient’s consent before performing a specific medical procedure but can become more complicated when it is determined that an individual is no longer capable of personally making these decisions.
How to Give Informed Consent
Physicians are required to gather informed consent from the patient before medical procedures, meaning the patient or their surrogate must fully understand the risks and rewards of a particular medical intervention. This includes an overview of the diagnosis if it is available, why specific interventions are recommended, the burdens risks and benefits of any options to be considered and documentation of the conversation and its outcome. Generally, the patient will be the one to provide their informed consent, but if the patient is deemed unable or unwilling to provide acceptance of the intervention, a surrogate may make this decision on their behalf.
Is It Possible to Override Informed Consent?
While unusual, it is possible for doctors to override the law of informed consent. If the patient is in desperate need of medical intervention and is unable to make the decision and no surrogate can be found in time, doctors are able to move forward with the course of action that they deem best. However, they must then seek to gain consent from the individual or their designee before treatment can be continued.
Understanding how informed consent works can save you and your family time and frustration. It can also prevent any feelings of helplessness that could occur if you don’t understand why certain decisions are being made during an emotional time. At Santé, we believe it is important to ask plenty of questions so there are no surprises for the family. Contact us anytime at 480-563-2402 or fill out our quick online form to receive a thoughtful response from our team.