To give informed consent as a patient, you grant permission freely and without coercion to a medical professional to perform a specific test or provide a specific treatment, with your full knowledge of ...
- all other options
- how the test/treatment is performed
- risks and benefits
- how the results will help
Informed consent supposedly ensures you have enough information to make a decision that reflects your desires and values. I say "supposedly" to highlight that informed consent is a process and not a piece of paper, as discussed in Informed Consent. You may need time and multiple conversations to process the facts in a meaningful way.
Dr. Paul Kalanathi was a neurosurgery resident when he realized that obtaining informed consent from a patient was about far more than "a juridical exercise in naming all the risks as quickly as possible, like the voice-over in an ad for a new pharmaceutical." He saw "an opportunity to forge a covenant with a suffering compatriot:...I promise to guide you, as best as I can, to the other side."
Your physicians must know enough about you to personalize both the content and the presentation of facts and recommendations. You must make sure they know enough about you.
Healthy Survivors embrace informed consent as both a decision-making process and an opportunity to forge healing bonds with clinicians.