Medical Law: The Necessity of a Patient's Consent

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Medical law essay on consent Introduction Patient informed consent refers to the situation where the patient is fully informed on the consequences of their health care decision after which the patient gives the decision. For there to be informed consent, there are five elements that must be discussed. The first is the nature of the patient's decision then the applicable alternatives to the proposed intervention. Third are the risks, benefits and uncertainties associated with each of the alternatives. Fourth is the assessment of the patient's understanding and last is the acceptance of the intervention or an alternative by the patient. Before the patient's consent is considered to be valid, the patient's competency to make the decision must be addressed. The criteria for evaluating the patient's competency is clearly stated in section 3 of the 2005 Mental Capacity Act which states that provided the person is able to understand, retain and use information provided and to communicate their decision in any way such as talking or sign language, they are competent to make a decision. If a patient is treated against their refusal to consent, it amounts to the tort of battery or can also be considered the crime of assault. In addition to this, laws that touch on human rights reinforce the importance of the protection of the physical integrity of the individual in terms of their right to respect of their private life. Therefore, refusal of medical treatment is a human right.
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