Obtaining consent for obstetric procedures

Obtaining consent for obstetric procedures
KatrinaHenderson, SiânGriffiths
Anaesthesia & Intensive Care Medicine, 19 August 2019
Consent is a process that involves information disclosure of a proposed treatment or intervention. It includes a discussion of the risks relevant to that particular patient as well as the benefits and alternative options. The process must be clearly documented to provide a legal justification for treatment. Obtaining informed consent can be a challenge when a labouring woman is in severe pain or under the influence of strong analgesics. High-risk women should be encouraged to attend pre-assessment clinics to enable adequate time to process the information discussed. Pregnant women are presumed competent and are entitled to refuse treatment even if this risks their life or the life of their fetus. Rarely, if a woman is not considered competent to make decisions for herself, clinicians should take into account the underlying reasons and consider proceeding in their best interests under the doctrine of necessity or apply to the courts for approval of an intervention. This article summarizes current guidelines in relation to consent that have been updated to reflect recent case law.

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