Consent to Treatment
Before your surgery your surgeon will ask you to sign a 'Consent Form'.
This form is simply documentation that your surgeon has undertaken the process of 'Informed Consent', it is not a legal document. It is a form which a patient signs to agree that they are fully aware of the procedure which they are about to undergo, that is has been explained clearly to them and that they agree to it being carried out.
This doesn’t absolve the hospital or medical team of any responsibility if they are negligent in any way.
It is the legal duty of the person who is going to be treating you to give you as much information as possible as to the procedure. This must also include telling you about any pain implications or about possible risks or complications as well as discussing any possible alternative treatment. They can certainly recommend one particular course of action over another. However, the final decision as to whether or not you give your consent or sign a consent form remains in your control entirely.
There is no minimum legal age limit which a child cannot give consent to treatment independently. If the consultant treating the child judges that they are capable and mature enough to make their own decisions they can give consent without their parents consent. Naturally, this is a grey area and it would be unusual for this to occur in shoulder surgery. Most hospitals set an age consent level of 16 years, below which a parent or legal guardian should sign the consent form before treatment.
There may be some circumstances when, during an operation, it becomes obvious that you would benefit from an additional procedure that was not included in your original consent.
Extra procedures cannot be done for the convenience of the medical team, hospital or patient. There must be a clear medical reason why it would be unsafe to wait to obtain your consent.
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