Friday, May 31, 2013

How To Simplify Consents

He arrived at the emergency room diaphoretic, hypotensive, and with substernal chest pressure.  The patient was brought immediately to an emergency room care area and a stat EKG disclosed classic ST segment elevation in the inferior leads.  The cath lab team was immediately summoned as the ER team worked to stabilize the patient.  Within minutes, the attending cardiologist was on the scene, reviewed the EKG, examined the patient, and explained to the hoardes of family members with the patient what was taking place.  In the interest of being expeditious with his consent process as the team was arriving to take the patient to the cath lab, the attending said:

"There is a 1% risk that anything bad that you can think of could happen with this procedure.  If you'd like me to detail those things, I can."

The patient didn't want to hear, and off to the cath lab they went to open the patient's occluded right coronary artery to great relief of the patient and family.

Later, in follow-up, the attending cardiologist was making rounds and asked the patient his occupation.

"I'm a malpractice attorney."

Smiling, the cardiologist immediately asked, "How was my consent?"

"Perfect.  Absolutely perfect."



Anonymous said...

Dr. Wes,

Hope you get a chance to read the newest lies from the NYT.

Jim said...

Great post! It's always interesting to hear it from the patients view!

Sandra Dotch said...

Awesome story! I feel it's always important for a doctor to know the proper but easy way to get a consent I've heard a lot of stories about malpractice lawsuits over improper consents.