Variability in Informed Consent Practices for Non-Emergent Procedures in Pediatric Emergency Departments

Variability in Informed Consent Practices for Non-Emergent Procedures in Pediatric Emergency Departments
Research Article
Lorrie Edwards, Heidi Werner, Yorghos Tripodis, David Dorfman, Tehnaz Boyle, Megan Bair-Merritt, Arvin Garg
Clinical Pediatrics, 26 September 2019 
Abstract
Although informed consent is a cornerstone of medical ethics, it is unclear if the practice for obtaining informed consent is consistent among pediatric emergency departments. This study’s goal is to describe the current practice for written informed consent in academic pediatric emergency departments for non-emergent procedures. A questionnaire distributed to pediatric emergency medicine fellowship directors queried whether written informed consent was standard of care for 15 procedures and assessed departmental consent policies and use of “blanket” consent-to-treat forms. Response rate was 80% (n = 64). Institutions obtained written consent for a mean of 4.4 procedures. Written informed consent was most commonly obtained for procedural sedation (82.5%), blood transfusion (72.9%), and lumbar puncture (66.5%). Twenty-one institutions (32.8%) had policies specifying procedures requiring written consent. Thirty-five institutions (54.7%) used “blanket” consent-to-treat forms. Our results suggest that there is variability in the use of written informed consent for non-emergent procedures among academic pediatric emergency departments.

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