Informed Consent: The Surgical Patient’s Experience in a Tertiary Hospital in Northwest Nigeria

Informed Consent: The Surgical Patient’s Experience in a Tertiary Hospital in Northwest Nigeria
B A Grema, S T Tanimu, G C Michael, I Aliyu, S A Aji, I U Takai, A I Sulaiman
West African Journal of Medicine, 27 May 2022; 5 pp 471-478
Obtaining informed consent (IC) before a surgical procedure is the cornerstone of medical practice. The practice of IC continues to evolve as litigations increase. Most studies on patients’ perspectives of IC are either old or were done in southern Nigeria. This study assessed the surgical patients’ IC experience in a tertiary hospital in northwest Nigeria.
This cross-sectional study assessed 244 consecutive patients who had elective surgeries in surgical departments of a tertiary hospital. Pretested questionnaires were used to collect data regarding their perception of the meaning of IC, the process of obtaining it, satisfaction with how it was obtained, and factors associated with satisfaction on how consent was obtained.
Most were females (61.9%); their mean age was 34.8±14.3 years; 52.9% and 61.9% of respondents did not believe that IC enables patient-clinician shared decision-making or patient’s self-decision making, respectively. Most were allowed to ask questions (83.2%), received information on the surgical procedure (91.4%), diagnosis (97.9%); however, 38.5% and 48.8% did not receive information about surgical procedures’ immediate and long-term complications, respectively. Surgical procedure explanation was mostly provided by Resident Doctors (53.7%). Most (88.9%) were satisfied with how IC was obtained; satisfaction was associated with being allowed to ask questions, receiving explanations on diagnosis, surgical-procedure, complications of surgery, available alternative treatments, and when the resident/ consultants gave the explanation (all P<0.05).
Deficiencies exist in the process of getting IC. Satisfaction with this process was high though associated with following the recommended strategies. Improving the IC process will require appropriate interventions in this and similar settings.

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