The Doctrine of Informed Consent refers to the legal right of an individual. It is based on an individual’s mandate to decide what should be done with his/her body during a medical treatment such as surgery. The doctrine is based on the patient’s entitlement to adequate information. The information allows the patient to make informed decisions in relation to medical treatment. Physicians have a duty to give comprehensive patient information on benefits and possible risks that relate to the medication. The duty and liability that relate to informed consent do not apply to all health workers. Nurses, referring physicians, and assistant surgeons have no duty to their patients in relation to informed consent. Thornton pointed out that the doctrine cannot be delegated. However, the exclusion is not absolute. The healthcare givers who undertake physicians’ duties that cannot be delegated, such as a surgical operation, are liable.
Importance of the Doctrine
The disclosure consent ensures that the patient understands the risks that relate to medical treatment. The disclosure reduces malpractices and ensures that physicians’ practice is within the legal confines in relation to the right of the patient to information. The documentation of the informed consent exonerates physicians from liability that may arise from a medical procedure. However, this does not imply that the acts of negligence are encouraged by the doctrine. Instead, it places a duty and responsibility on the physician to uphold work ethics; failure may result in a tort of negligence.
In case there are prosthetic devices to be used, the doctor should provide information to the patient and subsequently seek approval. The consent ensures that legal claims regarding the usage of prosthetic devices against the patient’s wish are avoided. Furthermore, medical treatments are not void of risks. Exposure to risks and hazards without prior information may lead to litigation issues, which are time-consuming. Thus, there is a need to balance the risks by obtaining informed consent. Informed consent has elements that relate to each party to the treatment. It forms the basis of engagements and enhances the involvement of the patient in the decision-making process.