Should medical students attempt to get consent?
- By: Alexander S J Shaw
Medical students often help out in theatre, but may not attempt to get a patient's consent first. This is a lawsuit waiting to happen, says Alexander S J Shaw
Medical law is difficult to understand without an appreciation and full understanding of the scale and importance of consent. Through spending time on the wards and in the theatres, medical students learn the need and legal importance of consent. I wonder whether we truly know the laws of consent, however. I would go as far as to ask whether all doctors do. The true breadth of the term “consent” is not fully appreciated and has become yet another automatism in the profession.
Many situations arise for which doctors and medical students are required to get consent. In clerking and performing procedures on conscious patients, it is obvious that we need to get informed consent. But at other times, consent is neglected.