How ‘informed’ is informed consent? Findings from a study in South India

Shuba Kumar, Rani Mohanraj, Anuradha Rose, MJ Paul, George Thomas

DOI: 10.20529/IJME.2012.061


Abstract

A qualitative study using in-depth interviews was carried out among patients and doctors working in a private hospital in Tamil Nadu, to understand perceptions of informed consent. Audio-recorded interviews were transcribed verbatim and a framework analytical approach was used in analysis. Emergent themes ranged from perceptions on informed consent, and discussing health concerns and decision making, to information provided by and expectations from doctors, and suggestions for improvement. Most patients were unfamiliar with the kind of information provided in the informed consent process; a few felt that the information was inadequate. Decision making about surgery was left mostly to the doctor. Poor literacy in patients was seen as a barrier to effective communication by doctors.

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