Informed Consent

Patients and their families are key partners in their health care. When you go for medical care, you usually get recommendations about needed treatment. Most people follow these recommendations, but you don’t have to. If you are an adult and you’re able to make your own decisions, you are the only person who can choose whether to get treatment and which treatment to get. This is done through a process called informed consent.

All medical care requires the consent of the patient (or someone who is authorized to consent for the patient) before care is given. In some cases, you approve or agree with the doctor’s plan by simply getting a prescription filled, allowing blood to be drawn for lab tests, or seeing a specialist. This is called simple consent, and is OK for treatments that carry little risk for you. Many times, though, the more careful process of informed consent is needed.