Any time you are going to have planned surgery you are required to sign your Informed Consent. Singing Informed Consent papers essentially means that you, as the patient, give the surgeon authorization to do surgery. It also means that you understand the nature of the surgery and understand the risks and benefits. Most surgeons will come and talk to you in the hospital before your surgery and get your consent at that time. Or they might send a nurse or assistant over to go over the information for them. However, in my practice, we do things a little bit differently. We do all the paperwork beforehand, in my office, in a calm environment. Your spouse, partner, or support person is welcome to come.
During this office visit, we will spend some time going over all the consent paperwork. I will also write your prescriptions for necessary medications so that you can get everything taken care of beforehand. Here is a list of things we will talk about during the Informed Consent office visit:
- the specific nature of the surgery
- the reason for surgery
- procedures that will be done during surgery
- other options for treatment including not having surgery
- risks of surgery in general and risks for this specific surgery
- benefits of surgery
- reasonable expectations for recovery
- medications used before, during, and after surgery including anasthesia
- your right to have a second opinion
- cost (approximations)
- your questions
I believe the best time to get your informed consent is days or weeks prior to your surgery date. The morning of your surgery is already busy enough with thoughts and feelings surrounding surgery– maybe you’re anxious or nervous or have taken medication to help calm you. You might be emotional and find it hard to concentrate. Giving you a lot of very important information once you’re already admitted is just too overwhelming. You’re thinking about IVs and needles, insurance, anesthesia, and recovery, and there’s not enough time to fully process thoughts. If you have questions for your surgeon he or she might not be readily available, as they usually have multiple surgeries on the same day. And some patients don’t feel comfortable asking questions at that time because they don’t want to “hold up the line” or take up too much of a nurse’s time.
By devoting an office visit to signing consent papers, my patients have greater understanding of their surgery and are a lot less stressed/overwhelmed when surgery day comes. This is an uncommon practice in the medical world, but it truly shows that we put our patients first.
If you would like to watch a video about Informed Consent with Dr. Davis, please click on the link. Dr. Davis Talks about Informed Consent