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Year : 2013  |  Volume : 3  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 205-210

Counseling and informed consent in surgical practice

1 Department of Surgery, Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital, Zaria, Nigeria
2 Department of Surgery, Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital; Department of Surgery,Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Ahmed Muhammed
Department of Surgery, Division of Urology, Ahmadu Bello University/Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital, Zaria
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2278-9596.129564

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Background: In medieval times, physicians concealed information about patient's health from them with the hope of giving them better care, the rationale being that the doctor knows better than the patient and should therefore direct the patient's care. This is obviously no longer acceptable in modern day practice. Objective: Increasing rate of litigations and the desire to provide patient with more participation in their own treatment, attain higher ethical standards and greater patient's safety have heightened the need for the surgeon to be conversant with what comprises and how to obtain informed consent. Materials and Methods: We reviewed current literature, including, original and review articles obtained through a search of PubMed database, Medline and Google scholar using the keywords: Counseling, informed, consent, surgical, practice. Results: The concept of consent is continuously evolving, whereas litigations can sanitize medical practice it must not be the driving tool, rather, practices should be evidence based. It is therefore necessary for the surgeon to be conversant with the relevance, modes, elements and application of a valid informed consent as well as methods of improving the process of obtaining informed consent. Patients should be fully involved in the management of their surgical conditions. Conclusion: A big gap exists between the theoretical/legal best practice and the daily practice of informed consent. An optimally informed patient will have more realistic expectations regarding a surgical procedure and its associated risk.

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