Informed Consent for Surgery at Resumption of Elective Activity After the First Wave of COVID-19

Informed Consent for Surgery at Resumption of Elective Activity After the First Wave of COVID-19
Nourelhuda M. Darwish, Muhammad Rafaih Iqbal, Adeel Abbas Dhahri, Neville Jacob, Jennifer
Jebamani, Amy Easthope, Vardhini Vijay
Cureus, 11 December 2020; 12(11)
Open Access
Abstract
Background
The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has changed the dynamics of healthcare, and the elective surgical consent process has also evolved. The Royal College of Surgeons of England published guidance on consent during COVID-19. Through this study, we aimed to assess our local consent adherence to these guidelines on the resumption of elective activity after the first wave of COVID-19.
Methods
This prospective review of consecutive elective surgical consent forms was conducted from 20 July 2020 to 16 August 2020 at the Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust, England. The primary outcome was evidence of COVID-19 risk documentation on the consent forms.
Results
A total of 116 patients’ consent forms were reviewed. Most patients were American Society of Anaesthesiologists (ASA) grade 2 (n=70; 60.34%). Only 25 consent forms (21.55%) had COVID -19 and its associated risks documented, with registrars being the most compliant (19/46; 41.3%) followed by consultants (6/51; 11.7%). With regards to the surgical sub-specialities, general surgery, orthopaedics and ENT had the highest compliance with the guidance.
Conclusions
As the elective activity resumes, peri-operative risks of COVID-19 should be weighted in during the informed consent process, as mentioned in the latest international guidelines on consent to avoid litigation and negligence claims.

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