Informed Consent and the Surgical Procedure

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INFORMED CONSENT AND THE SURGICAL PATIENT Informed Consent is obtained before a surgical procedure and in simple terms it refers to the permission granted by the patient or his guardians to the medical team to conduct a surgery. This consent is important because surgical procedures can often lead to complications and they do involve certain risks, therefore the patient must have complete knowledge of all that he might encounter during or after the procedure. The surgeon or physician who is responsible for conducting the operation usually obtains the consent but all healthcare providers involved in the process also play important roles in this connection. The role of a nurse in the process of informed consent is largely dependent on the nature of the treatment and the laws of the organizations. Kay Ely-Pierce, MA, RN, JD (1999) writes, "The nurse's part in the process of informed consent is variable. If the consent is being sought for a nursing procedure or treatment, it is the nurse's responsibility to provide the material information, assess the patient's decision capacity (ability to understand the information and make a rational decision based thereon), and execute the appropriate documentation of informed consent or refusal." (Family and Community Health, pg. 78) For example a registered nurse is required to understand that he/she can encounter trouble if the patient feels that the RN, who was in-charge of the whole procedure did not inform him (or those who had been
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