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Informed Consent - not just signing a form

Queensland Health, as part of the Australian Government, has designed many consent forms specific to different kinds of surgery, including orthopaedics. They have a very clear and helpful guide to the process on their website here.


Dr Wainwright has obtained permission from the government to use a modified version of these forms.


As such you can be assured that these forms offer the best opportunity for everyone involved in the informed consent process to be assured the best possible steps are being taken to ensure a patient's right to informed consent.


Informed consent is not just a form, however. It should be part of a process where, once a diagnosis is made, the advantages and risks involved in not operating and operating are discussed, including any alternatives. The decision, however, always lies with the patient or their guardian.


Most patients (with the exception of those who have considerable distances to travel, who are well known to the doctor, or who have undergone a very similar procedure before) will be given advice and written information, including a copy of a personalised consent form, to take anway and read. 


This allows patients to take the time they need after the initial offer of help to really consider whether this is the right thing for them as an individual. They will be encouraged to talk to friends and family about the possible risks, and whether they feel that the they are worth taking for the benefits they are likely to receive. After all, if people are allowed a "cooling off" period when they make a retail purchase, the least we as doctors can offer a patient making a life changing decision is the chance to sit back and reflect on their decision.


The consent forms used by Dr Wainwright are based on those found on this page of the Queensland Health web site. An example of Dr Wainwright's own forms can be downloaded here purely for viewing purposes - it is not to be used in practice.

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