Informed consent for surgery: risk discussion and documentation

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Informed consent for surgery has become a critical component of surgical practice. There are specific legal requirements for what has to be disclosed to patients and for the accompanying documentation. The hospital consent for surgery form with the patient’s signature is a small part of the process. A quality assurance review of the documentation of informed consent by our surgical group indicated major deficiencies and prompted this article (and its Appendix containing further information). Our intent was to inform surgeons about modern standards and to discuss particular challenges. Informed consent for surgery entails what surgeons communicate to their patients about the proposed surgery and is a key element in the trust patients have in surgeons. It is of increasing importance, and we must keep up to date with patient and legal expectations.

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