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Anesth Analg. 1993 Aug;77(2):256-60.

Parental knowledge and attitudes toward discussing the risk of death from anesthesia.

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Department of Anesthesiology, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, New York.


There is considerable debate as to the extent of disclosure of risks when obtaining informed consent for anesthesia, especially when discussing with parents the rare risk of death of healthy children about to undergo elective, outpatient surgery. In Part I, we attempted to determine parents' knowledge about the risks of anesthesia as well as their thoughts toward either hearing, or not hearing, about the risk of death. In the first part of our study, 115 parents completed questionnaires before speaking with the anesthesiologist. Ninety-six (87%) wanted to know the chances of death as a result of anesthesia, whereas 14 (13%) did not. Seventy-five (68%) parents knew that this risk was "extremely rare," 21 (19%) believed that it occurs "once in a while," and 14 (13%) thought there was "no chance." Eighty-two (74%) parents wanted to know "all possible risks," 26 (24%) wanted to know only "those that are likely to occur," and 3 (2%) wanted to know only about those that would "result in significant injury." Mothers were more likely to want to hear all possible risks, whereas fathers were more likely to want to know only about those that are likely to occur (P = 0.001). Otherwise, responses were not influenced by the sex of the parents, the age of the child, or whether the child or any siblings had had surgery in the past. In Part II, a separate group of 121 parents were surveyed after participating in the preanesthetic discussion with the anesthesiologist.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS).

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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