According to West's Encyclopedia of American Law, the definition of informed consent is "consent by a patient to a surgical or medical procedure or participation in a clinical study after achieving an understanding of the relevant medical facts and the risks involved” (Fallon L.F.Jr, 2010, p. 1). Basically, this is a form stating that the physician has explained, in words that the patient can understand, the details of the treatment or procedure that is being proposed, including the benefits the risks, as well as alternatives. Second, the physician needs to decide if the patient understood what was said and that they accept the potential risks of the procedure. The last part of the informed consent procedures is the patient signing the form that states generally, what the procedure is what the risks are and what the alternatives are, and that they understand and accept those risks. Other factors they physician must consider are as follows: first, "the patient must have the legal authority to give consent, second, they must be competent, they must be willing to give consent of their own free will, and they must be informed about the risks and benefits by someone knowledgeable to respond to questions prior to consent" (Benak L., 2006, p. 48). In the case of Mrs. Sparza, her English skills were limited, and she depended upon her son to be her initial interpreter. However, in the operating room where the consent for the surgery was to be signed, her son was not there. She refused to sign a consent form, because she understood enough English to know that her surgery was to be on one eye and the consent form stated it was for both eyes. The physician in his scrubs with an interpreter talked to her for a minute and she signed the paperwork.
Was the consent proper?
Mrs. Sparza's consent for the surgery was not proper. First her surgery was to be performed on one eye and the consent clearly stated it was for both eyes. The consent must be accurate for the actual procedure the patient discussed with the physician. According to the Encyclopedia of Surgery when discussing informed consent, "By law, the physician who will perform the procedure must explain the risks and benefits of the surgery along with other treatment options. The nurse is often the person who actually witnesses the patient's signature on the consent for" (Wojahn A, 2009, p. 1). While even though nurses do many times witness the signature of the patient to the consent form, once an error was identified on the consent form a new one should have been prepared and the physician notified. The practical nurse, explaining the procedure, and asking for Mrs. Sparza's signature did not possess the knowledge necessary to answer her questions and therefore should not have been the individual seeking her signature. Some facilities do not allow a member of the operating team to witness the informed consent form this would have disqualified her as well. At this point, the physician...