The Role Of Informed Consent In Medical Practices Today


Informed consent refers to the permission granted when one is fully aware of the effects of the course of action. The aspect of informed consent has become one of the vital parts of contemporary medical practice. In the healthcare sector, the element of informed consent tends to be important because it concerns the life of a patient. The healthcare practitioners may result in the seeking of approval to participate in practices such as giving out therapies before enrolling the patient in the program. On the basis of standards from the sectors of medical ethics, informed consent is obtained, which makes it much easier for health care providers to know when to receive consent from the patient.

I have personally had much concern about the interaction that has been present between doctors and their patients. The interest has been based on a quest for how much information should be given to patients, as well as the appropriate means to be used in the delivery of messages. It results in the rise of debate on aspects of respect offered to the autonomy of patients. Therefore, this has resulted in the idea of “respect for autonomy” and obligation for informed consent on which the requirement is based, to be pretty accepted in medical practices today.

Respect for Autonomy

When dealing with patients, doctors should ensure that they observe all the models about the physician relationship with the patients. These models are inclusive of the paternalistic, interpretive, informative, and deliberative model. The paternalistic model entails the aspect of ensuring that the patients obtain all the possible interventions that result in the promotion of their health. Therefore, I believe that in this model, the physicians should accept much concern in identifying the conditions as well as the appropriate measures that will aid in the attainment of better healthcare.

Respecting the autonomy of a patient is an aspect that should be embraced by all medics. In the past cultures, medical and health care practitioners were presumed to have the authority of making decisions on behalf of the patients. However, I perceive this trait to be inappropriate for individuals. My reasons for arguing against it are because it results in the loss of lives of individuals and, most notably, in cases whereby the doctors lacked an alternative. The making of the decision by the medical practitioners was enhanced due to the lack of information by patients on ideal measures to be accepted in matters concerning their health.

The advantages of embracing the aspect of patient consent before treatment is that it relieves the medics from any form of liability in case something happens to the patient along the process. Over the past decades, the majority of practitioners were fixed in dilemma due to the drastic measures accepted in authorizing treatment to patients. The dilemma then resulted in the rise of complications. However, the latter has seized in the present days as more liabilities lie with the patients. The disadvantage of the measure, on the other hand, is that it may result in the delay of treatment. The delayed treatment, in turn, results in the loss of the patient and especially when the patient is not in a position to give out the consent on the treatment.

Based on the analysis of the advantages and disadvantages of embracing patient consent before treatment, I propose that medical departments adopt the incorporation of the views of patients and those of the doctors. The integration of the thoughts of both parties will result in the reaching of an agreement on the ideal measures to be accepted in providing medical treatment. The patient will also be made aware of the side effects of the treatment in case it requires much attention. Therefore, in the event of complications, the medics will not be held responsible because the patient was aware of the involved risks.

Paternalism can also be explained based on the context of the principle of charity. The principle of charity is depicted as a methodological principle that should be adopted for the construction of the theory of truth. This implies that all the necessities should be accepted in the creation of fact. In the context of respect for autonomy, the same maximization that is channeled by doctors in providing medical attention should also be embraced when dealing with patients. Therefore, I agree with the perception of Goldberg that doctors should embrace the views of the patient on matters concerning their health. The medics should also ensure that they input quality care to patients with ultimate maximization.

Guidelines on how Doctors should interact with Patients

The primary duties of doctors towards patients are based deciding on whether to accept the case or no. Therefore, in this case, the doctors should weigh out on the views of the patients plus the ideal action to be accepted to ensure that they deliver the best course of action. The doctor’s duties also entail providing the decisions on what treatment to administer to the patient. In this context, they should ensure that they provide an appropriate analysis of the patient to ensure that they come up with the ideal measure of treatment.

The doctors should also ensure that they accept the initiative of administering the treatment to the patients regardless of their views as patients may not be aware of what is the best fit for them. The failure by the doctors to observe their duties is what may result in patients suing them for negligence. Doctors are also bound to attend to the physical injuries of their patients. Therefore, they should engage in acts that will result in the patient recovering from their illnesses.

Ideas of Respect for Autonomy

The considerations of respect for autonomy focus on situations whereby decisions should be accepted on the healthcare interventions. Respect for autonomy should be accepted in discussions based on confidentiality, privacy, fidelity as well as the telling of truth. The usual ideas on respect for autonomy are that patients should be allowed to make decisions on their healthcare. However, in as much as this is what appears to be the norm, I disagree with the concept. The reason behind my arguments is that the medics tend to be more aware of the best thing for their patients. Therefore, they should be granted the chance to take part in the making of decisions on the healthcare of patients.

The idea of patients being allowed to make choices on the life-changing healthcare interventions tends to be essential. The reason for this is because it discourages the presence of inappropriate paternalism. This results in the protection of patients against unwanted interventions. The unwanted interventions may comprise of permissions to decline surgery, which tends to be burdensome than beneficial. The idea of involving patients in the making of decisions results in encouragement of the attention of individuals on the understanding of healthcare interventions. However, the doctors should also uphold their task in delivery of care by following the guidelines on the duties assigned to them.

Factors affecting the Attainment of Informed Consent

The attainment of informed consent tends to be prone to several limitations. The limitations comprise of the comprehension of the patients, the use of disclosed information, autonomy of the patient, placed demands on the healthcare providers, and how physicians manage to meet the minimal standards required for disclosure (Hall, Prochazka & Fink, 2012, 534). The patients tend to inhibit little memory on the information which gets to be disclosed during the process of informed consent. Therefore, the medical practitioners should accept the role of administering care to patients based on what is expected of them.

Conclusion and Recommendations

In conclusion, the aspect of informed consent tends to be one of the ideal elements to be adopted by healthcare providers. However, healthcare needs to put into consideration the requests made by the patients and assist them in coming up with the appropriate measures. The valid informed consent should incorporate proper disclosure of information and follow up of the duties of the doctors towards patients. The nature of the consent should also be voluntary, and in the event, the patient is unable to make a choice, then the healthcare providers can assist them since this is one of their assigned duties. 

16 December 2021
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