GIVING YOUR CONSENT FOR SURGERY

Before a doctor performs any surgery he needs your informed consent to the planned procedure.  You will then be asked to sign a consent form when you are in the hospital.  Informed consent implies that you fully understand what is going to be done to you.  It is therefore important that you have a full and frank discussion with the surgeon about any planned operation.

What you should know before giving your consent for surgery

Your doctor must ensure you know enough to enable you to decide about treatment.  There are often various treatment options that may be available and these should be mentioned.  Although a particular treatment will be advised, you are free to discuss other treatment options. Patient’s attitudes vary in respect of the amount of risk or pain they are prepared to accept. That goes for the amount of information they wish to have as well. However, it is important that the risks of any operation be explained to the patient by the surgeon.

Asking Questions

Patients should feel free to ask questions about the planned surgery.  It is a good idea to jot down the queries that you may have before the meeting with the doctor, in order to be sure you do not forget some point during the interview.  Your time to ask questions is best kept until after the doctor has completed his explanation of the procedure.

It is not unreasonable to have a family member or close friend with you for support at the time that the operation is being explained to you.

Provide Information to the Doctor

It is very important that the doctors treating you know about past medical problems you may have suffered as well as all current medications that you may be using, this includes the use of herbal remedies.

The Anaesthetist

The anaesthetist will arrange to see you shortly before the operation and any concerns you may have about previous anaesthetics and the risks of anaesthesia should be discussed with the anaesthetist at that time.  Again be able to provide a good account of past medical problems and allergies.

In some circumstances arrangements can be made for a consultation with the anaesthetist well in advance of the planned surgery.

After the Operation

I
t is very important that the patient and also close family should feel free to report any concerns about the way the post operative recovery is progressing.  Often, patients become anxious about things they experience after the surgery that are quite normal. It is important that these issues be discussed as the doctor can allay the anxiety with a simple explanation.  Alternatively, should there be a significant problem, the sooner the doctor knows about this, the better.

Your Preoperative Check List

What operation is to be performed?
What are the expected benefits of the operation?
What are the risks of the surgery ?
What other options for treatment are there?
What if no treatment is given at all?
What is the expected recovery period?
What happens during the postoperative management?
How will the operation affect my work and recreational activity?

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