The American Medical Association (AMA) defines informed consent as a process of communication between a physician and patient which results in the patient authorizing or agreeing to undergo medical treatment. As a patient, it is important to understand that if you are in need of medical care, certain information needs to be provided to you during the communications process between you and the doctor providing/performing the treatment. In addition, the patient should be allowed to ask any questions regarding the suggested treatment or procedure.
A doctor should discuss the following information with his or her patient:
- Diagnosis of the patient;
- The benefits and risks of the suggested treatment or procedure;
- The purpose and nature of the proposed treatment or procedure;
- Any risks or benefits of not undergoing the procedure or treatment; and
- Alternatives to the recommended treatment, regardless of cost or what is covered by the patient’s health insurance, and any risks or benefits.