Ethics. Research. Community.

Written consent - a prospective audit of practices for ENT patients.

Annals of the Royal College of Surgeons of England. 
[Record Source: PubMed]
INTRODUCTION: It is very important that patients are given sufficient time to consider the implications of surgical treatment. PATIENTS AND METHODS: The authors audited the consenting practices for patients undergoing surgery in a busy ENT unit. RESULTS: The first cycle demonstrated that 15% of patients were providing written consent for surgery on the same day as their operation. Subsequent to a simple change in departmental policy, this was reduced to 2%. The medicolegal implications of this audit are discussed with reference to current recommendations. CONCLUSIONS: This simple policy change not only protects the hospital trust from potential litigation but also provides a smooth journey for the patients from diagnosis to making the decision to operate and finally to undergoing surgery.
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