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J Pak Med Assoc. 2009 Oct;59(10):679-82.

Informed consent in elective surgical procedures: "what do the patients think"?

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Department of Surgery, Shifa College of Medicine, Shifa International Hospital, Islamabad.



To analyze the patients' perspective of the process of informed consent in a tertiary care hospital setting.


A cross sectional survey was carried out at a tertiary care teaching hospital Islamabad and 200 patients were included who responded to the questionnaire. The study extended from March to May 2008. Patients were interviewed by trained personnel. Patients undergoing emergency surgery, minors and medical professionals were excluded form the study. Data was entered and frequencies and percentages were analyzed on SPSS 14.


A total of 98% of patients admitted that informed consent was taken, however, only 81 (40.5%) patients understood the information provided. Patients reporting that their decision to proceed with surgery was actually influenced by other people including the treating doctor numbered 112 (56%). Only 58 (29%) signed their own consent form, the rest of them were signed by relatives. Only 96 (48%) patients admitted having been informed about possible complications of surgery as against 156 (78%) who were informed of sequelae of not having the surgery done. Signatures taken by the paramedics were 138 (69%). Despite a poor understanding of the process of informed consent, 187 (93.5%) still felt satisfied with the process of informed consent.


There is a lack of proper understanding by the population and inadequate system of informed consent in our setting. However, majority of the people still feel satisfied with the information provided. There is a unique family system where decision-making is shared within the family.

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