Medical Informed Consent > Overview > Overview


Informed consent is a patient's right to be presented with sufficient information, by either the physician or their representative, to allow the patient to make an informed decision regarding whether or not to consent to a treatment or procedure. Patients generally are recognized as having the right to refuse medical care for any reason. Their reasons may include religious grounds as well as any other personal grounds they choose, even if you as physician consider their grounds to be frivolous or in poor judgment.

Informed consent must be obtained by a health care provider who is reasonably involved with the patient's care. A medical student therefore may not obtain consent, as they are not allowed to be responsible for patient care. The legal requirement to obtain informed consent rests with the attending physician. The attending physician may delegate his or her responsibility to obtain informed consent to another health care provider; however, he or she remains responsible and liable if appropriate consent is not obtained.

If informed consent is not obtained, the patient has the right to sue for medical malpractice. Informed consent is necessary any time the physician is going to either touch the patient or perform an invasive procedure. Informed consent may further be divided into two parts. These parts include Express consent and Implied consent.


© Copyright Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia 2013