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Informed Consent

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KEY POINTS

  • Informed consent is a law that requires you to give permission before your child has surgery, procedures, treatments, or enrolls in a clinical research study. Children cannot give consent for themselves.
  • Be sure to ask all of your questions so that you fully understand your child’s condition and treatment choices. You can refuse the test or treatment as long as you understand the risks and possible problems if you do so.
  • If your child is severely hurt and needs emergency treatment and you cannot be reached or you were also hurt, your child may be treated without informed consent.

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What is informed consent?

Informed consent is a law that requires you to give permission before your child gets medical treatment. You may also need to give informed consent before your child has surgery or certain procedures. It’s also required before your child joins a clinical research study.

Be sure to ask all of your questions so that you fully understand your child’s condition and treatment choices. After a healthcare provider explains everything to you and answers your questions, you will be asked to sign a form. This form confirms that you have received the information, understand what you were told, your questions were answered, and that you give permission for your child to have the test or treatment. Do not feel rushed. Take your time to read the whole document so that you know exactly what you are signing. When you better understand your child’s care and choices, you can play an active role in your child’s healthcare.

What do I need to know?

Before your child has a treatment or test, you need to know:

  • What condition or illness your child has or may have
  • Why a certain test or treatment is needed or recommended
  • The benefits of having the test or procedure
  • The risks and possible problems that might happen as a result of the test
  • The chances of success for the recommended treatment or test
  • How long the recovery period after the test or treatment, if any, is likely to be
  • Other options besides the test or treatment being recommended

You can choose to refuse the test or treatment as long as you understand your options and the risks and possible problems if you do not take your provider’s advice.

Are there any special rules?

Sometimes your child may be treated without informed consent. This situation can happen if your child is severely hurt and needs emergency treatment, and you cannot be reached or you were also hurt and can’t give consent. Children cannot give consent for themselves. Each state has laws about when informed consent is needed and when treatment may be given without it.

Developed by RelayHealth.
Pediatric Advisor 2016.4 published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2016-09-28
Last reviewed: 2016-09-28
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
Copyright © 2016 RelayHealth, a division of McKesson Technologies Inc. All rights reserved.
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