It is a legal requirement for all patients to give their consent prior to surgery. You need to carefully read the form before you agree and sign. If you have any doubts or questions, then you should clarify that before affixing your signature. You can withdraw consent at any time. I had one patient withdrawing on the day of the operation after attending the ward as he was very nervous. He subsequently had his operation on a different day when he was able to gather himself.
I will do my best to ensure that you understand your diagnosis, treatment options and risks involved. Some patients like to know everything about the conditions and all the possible risks; whereas others may not like to know a lot but would want ‘the problem to be fixed’. I have found it challenging to decide how much to tell each patient. If you feel that you want to know more, just let me know. If you feel that I am telling you too much, just let me know and I will inform you of the necessary things only. If there are alternatives to the proposed treatment or if no treatment is an option, the generally I will discuss this with you.
By signing the consent form you are accepting the risks during the course of consultation and treatment process. You are allowed to withdraw your consent at any stage before the surgery - even on the day of the operation. If I am worried about something, then, I reserve the right to cancel the operation at any time. In 20 years, I have cancelled the operation on the day twice - once in
a person who drank milky tea 1 hour before the operation and once in a person who went out to smoke a cigarette 10 minutes before the operation. I need to ensure that ALL risks are minimal.
The consent form details the proposed operation, the benefits of the surgery and a brief overview of the risks involved. The hand written information is indicative and should not be considered as an detailed and exhaustive list. Please ensure that you feel fully informed before signing the form.
In the NHS settings, I will not be able to guarantee the surgeon who does the operation or the anaesthetist. I will be able to take photos or videos during the surgery. These images will not contain any patient identifying details and will be shown to you (if you want to) as confirmation of the pathology and what was done to address this. In some situations, a small tissue sample may be taken to analyse and if such sample is taken it will be handled with due care and consideration.
If there has been a long delay from listing to the date of surgery or if I have not met you before, then I tend to bring you back to a clinic to discuss the proposed operation, risks involved and the benefits. You will have the opportunity to clarify any doubts (like driving, work limitations etc) that you may have. You may then sign the consent form in that clinic.