The golden rule of surgery is: Primum non nocere - ‘First, do no harm’. There is another, competing rule that comes from practicing defensive medicine: Prius non tempore - 'first, do no time'.
Saturday, 19 August 2017
So much emphasis is placed on the consent form; we are lectured about it’s importance from our first days as an intern. Like no other form, it is constantly being modified in order to make the form better reflect the role it is meant to play. But what is that role? Is the consent form simply a permission slip, designed to minimise the risk of surgeons being sued if complications occur? Or is it a statement by the patient that they have considered all the options and have come to a decision to have this treatment over all other options, despite the risks? Looking at the form, it is a bit of both, and it probably performs the latter function very poorly.