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Informed consent


More than a signature

Overview and objectives


Elderly male sitting and leaning forward on cane
A patient discusses the complications from his knee replacement surgery
"My knee replacement surgery was a miserable experience. The pain was terrible. I experienced bleeding into the knee, developed a blood clot in my lung and to top it off my knee is so scarred I can't even fully straighten it. I still have pain today, nearly five years later. If I had only been told about all these complications I would never have gone ahead."
Female doctor holding a binder
Outcome
Unfortunately, this patient developed a pulmonary embolus and arthrofibrosis after a total knee replacement. These complications can occur with the best of care.
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Overview

This section describes the ethical and legal principles of informed consent – why it's important and how it's obtained.

Objectives

After completing this topic you will be able to:

  • Describe the 3 key elements of valid consent.
  • List the elements of informed consent.
  • Explain the role of informed consent and the purpose of the consent form.