Informed Consent

Which one of the following statements is TRUE:

a) Clinicians are allowed by law to provide any necessary emergency treatment without informed consent.
b) Informed consent for treatment is not necessary if transported following a 911 call.
c) Starting antibiotics in the Emergency Room does not require informed consent unless the patient is a minor.
d) The legal standard of informed consent varies between states.

Answer: d.

The legal standard of informed consent varies from state to state, Some use: what a reasonable patient would want to know; in other states the standard is, what a reasonable physician should provide (check with your local ethics committee). Informed consent is always required for medical testing and treatment except in cases where the situation meets all criteria for the “emergency exception”

  • Life threatening emergency and time is of the essence.
  • Patient is not decisional and no legal surrogate decision maker is available.
  • A reasonable person would consent to the emergency treatment.

See Fast Facts #164 and #165: Informed Consent Parts 1 and 2.