Being informed is critical, especially in the area of a patients  health care. From the moment  a patient enters a health care institution they can expect to be given written information to inform them on just about everything they need to know. Understanding all of the written material is important and folding it up and putting it away without reading it, may put them at risk or lead to a serious misunderstanding at a later date.

It is essential that patients take the time to read everything that they are asked to sign. Patients should be encouraged to ask the provider to go over the form and to clarify it by explaining every step along the way. The busy staff may seem to hurry through the process of acquiring consents.  This may be over simplifying the important things that patients need to know. It is essential that a patient be fully and appropriately informed.

Reading and comprehending the information on a surgical consent is two different things. A patient  may be anxious about their illness and surgery. This may decrease their  full comprehension. Patients  may need to clarify their understanding of any procedure that they are consenting to. Especially when it is surgical, clinical trials, or any intrusive procedures.

These are some of the conditions that may interfere with the ability to understand and sign a surgical consent. Patients have every right  to delay signing the consent at this time. The professional staff caring for a patient  is required to ascertain their readiness and ability to sign an informed consent.

*Premedicated for surgery

*Pain related to injury

*Extreme stress

*Mental illness or incompetency


*An informed consent can be discussed with verbal feedback to the staff that confirms a patients comprehension.

 In an emergency or when a patient is unable to consent for surgery. A surrogate who is family or knows the patient well,will be asked to make a decision on the patients behalf.

 Occasionally in an emergency a physician may find themselves without a surrogate. The physician will then act in the best interest of the patient, until the family or a surrogate can be found.

When signing a consent for surgery a patient should never feel that they are being coerced,manipulated or persuaded to sign a consent. It is critical that there is a clear understanding of the surgical procedure and the inherent risks . The option to ask questions or to refuse surgery is always an option.

Surgical Consent forms :

 A surgical consent form is lengthy and tends to stir some appropriate anxiety. It is designed to cover the medical and surgical scenario that occurs during a specific operation. The most critical of this should be that it is written out clearly and specific :

* The name of the surgeon who will be performing the surgery

* Doctor Jon Notabutcher etc. and any others that may accompany him.

*Right knee ..Arthroscopic repair of a torn meniscus . Often the surgeon and patient will confirm and mark the correct limb for a surgical     procedure.

*Included in a consent for surgery is the potential for all complications including death. There are many procedures in place for any emergent events as well as prevention of the most common complications.

*The potential for a sudden unexpected complication or death is a stressful reality that exists, although rare.

*The anesthesiologist will obtain a separate consent for anesthesia with a personal visit before surgery.

Most patients who have chosen a hospital with high standards and a skilled credentialed physician, will have routine surgical procedures and an a recovery appropriate to the surgery.  Most, will then return to their lifestyles without complications.