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October 2017 Archives

Putting the "info" in "informed consent"

When you are suffering from an illness or injury, sometimes there are a number of treatment options available. Other times, the choice may be between only two methods, or perhaps there's only one available medical procedure, operation or medication to address your issue. Maybe the first option has a higher likelihood of success while the second is less painful, or perhaps a medication may be highly effective but could have side effects that you would find unbearable. The point is that you, the patient, should be the one to decide.

Highlighting retained surgical instrument cases

Almost everyone in Indianapolis has likely heard horror stories about people who have underwent surgery later discovering that instruments doctors used in their procedures ended up getting left in their bodies. While some may have a hard time believing such tales, statistics show that not only do such accidents happen, but also that they may be more common than most would think. Information shared by the Joint Commission shows that between 2005-2012, it received reports of 772 cases of retained surgical instruments. Such errors often cause problems in patients much greater than those they originally sought surgical treatment for. 

What is informed consent?

Medical errors occur all the time in Indiana and across the country in healthcare settings. Many of these errors are preventable. Some of them are related to something called informed consent. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, informed consent is a matter of basic human rights and entitles a person to be informed about any health service that will performed or given to them before it occurs. The exception would be in a situation where you could not give consent due to a lack of conscious awareness. In that situation, your family would have to give consent or if they are not available and it is an emergency, consent can be waived.