Medical Comics as Tools to Aid in Obtaining Informed Consent for Stroke Care

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Informed consent has now become common in medical practice. However, a gap still exists between doctors and patients in the understanding of clinical conditions. We designed medical comics about “subarachnoid hemorrhage” and “intracerebral hemorrhage” to help doctors obtain informed consent intuitively, quickly, and comprehensively.

Between September 2010 and September 2012, we carried out a questionnaire survey about medical comics with the families of patients who had suffered an intracerebral or subarachnoid hemorrhage. The questionnaire consisted of 6 questions inquiring about their mental condition, reading time, usefulness of the comics in understanding brain function and anatomy, pathogenesis, doctor's explanation, and applicability of these comics.

The results showed that 93.8% responders would prefer or strongly prefer the use of comics in other medical situations. When considering the level of understanding of brain function and anatomy, pathology of disease, and doctor's explanation, 81.3%, 75.0%, and 68.8% of responders, respectively, rated these comics as very useful or useful.

We think that the visual and narrative illustrations in medical comics would be more helpful for patients than a lengthy explanation by a doctor. Most of the responders hoped that medical comics would be applied to other medical cases. Thus, medical comics could work as a new communication tool between doctors and patients.

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