Healthcare Law, Ethics & Policy, Healthcare Terminology
TRULY INFORMED CONSENT
Healthcare Law, Ethics and Policy Healthcare Terminology
Current forms of informed consent for cataract surgery — and perhaps, all forms of surgery — may appear complete and thorough (AAO, 2015; Koch & Koch, 2009). But they also appear to be lopsided. The following are, therefore, recommended to improve these forms:
Patients should be shown a video of actual cataract surgical procedures and the details explained before they are asked to consider the option. The video should show how the surgery is performed ste-by-step so that the patient can know what to expect if he opts for it;
The brochures and video should be prepared with the patient’s educational level and age — as well as other important factors. All technical and medical terms should be thoroughly explained in the patient’s language and level or capability of understanding. The health practitioner should not use difficult terms or should willingly explain what the patient asks him to explain.
The clinic should have a ready collection of testimonials from past cataract patients with their truthful or verifiable comments on the procedure and results of the surgery. This collection or manual should be on display at all times at the receiving room of the clinic. The surgeon and his or her staff should present both positive and negative testimonials in this collection for the fair benefit of the still-undecided patient;
Reading materials should be freely given to prospective patients and should be written in their own language and educational level. These materials should include the names and number of ophthalmologist so the patient may inquire.
The informed consent form should be two-sided, not one-sided. It should include a safety clause in the patient’s favor in case of malpractice on the part of the surgeon. The selected surgeon should have a space to sign to accept the responsibility of possessing sufficient knowledge and training in the procedure and taking parallel risks and responsibilities in the procedure. It is not fair that only the patient shall swear to trust a surgeon and free him from all responsibilities and culpability in the face of admitted fact that nobody has full knowledge of consequences. The burden of the risk should at least be equally shared by the two sides;
The informed consent form for children, elderly, sickly and other serious conditions should be different from the regular form for ordinary or healthy patients. While parents or guardians should sign for young or encumbered patients, the surgeon should co-sign to indicate his acceptance of the responsibility. It is also an attestation of his qualification and competence in undertaking the risky surgery;
The surgeon should, to the best of his knowledge, thoroughly inform the patient and his family about the probable consequences, prognosis and risks of the procedure, which are applicable to his or her care.
The surgeon should encourage the patient to ask all sorts of questions to appease his or her apprehensions and raise both his or her level of trust in the surgeon’s skill and his or her level of cooperation in the success of the procedure;
The surgeon or his assistant should come up with suitable alternatives to surgery for a patient with a high level of apprehension.
AAO (2015). Informed consent for cataract surgery. Ophthalmic Mutual Insurance
Company: American Academy of Ophthalmology. Retrieved on February 21, 2015
Koch, Paul and Koch, Patricia (2009). Informed consent for cataract surgery with intraocular lens implantation. Koch Eye Associates: St. James Surgery Center.
Retrieved on February 22, 2015 from http://kocheye.com/pdf/Cataract_Consent_Booklet.pdf
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