- Informed Consent
- What is informed consent and what does it mean?
- Why does the doctor need me to sign a consent form?
- What are the legal requirements of informed consent?
- Who besides the patient is allowed to consent?
- Are there times when the usual consent requirements do not apply?
- How will I be given information for informed consent?
- What questions should I ask during informed consent?
- Can I change my mind after I’ve signed the consent?
- What if I don’t want the treatment that’s being offered?
- How is informed consent for a clinical trial or research study different from consent for standard treatment?
- How is shared decision-making different from informed consent?
- What if I want my doctor to make the decisions about my care, and I don’t want more information?
- How can I find out more?
- To learn more about informed consent
Are there times when the usual consent requirements do not apply?
In general, those who make medical treatment decisions must be legally recognized as adults in the state where treatment is to be given. But there are a few times when an older teen (for instance, one who is self-supporting and doesn’t live at home, is married, or in the military) does not need parental consent for procedures or treatments. There are also some situations where teens can consent for certain kinds of treatment even if they are underage. The rules and treatment situations vary from state to state.
There are also times when the decision made by the parent or guardian of a child or an incompetent adult may be challenged by the doctor or facility. In these cases, the courts may overrule the usual decision-maker if they think the decision that was made would cause undue harm. But these cases are fairly rare.
In an emergency:
- If a person is unconscious and in danger of death or other serious outcome if medical care is not given right away, informed consent may not be required before treatment.
- If those who are giving treatment know that the patient has an advance directive refusing the care, the treatment may not be given.
- If those treating the person know that he or she has an advance directive that appoints someone else to make decisions, that person may be called for informed consent if there is time. But in general, emergency situations don’t allow much time to check on advance directives.
Last Medical Review: 05/20/2016
Last Revised: 07/28/2014