Patient expectations regarding involvement in their own healthcare have increased dramatically over the past few years. It is no longer acceptable for the doctor to dictate treatment; patients demand information regarding treatment options, and input into the selection of the most appropriate treatment plan. This is evidenced by court decisions that have upheld patient litigation on the basis that inadequate information was given to them before treatment, and that they were unaware of risks of complications which subsequently materialized. While these complaints are more typical against surgeons, similar claims are likely in relation to anaesthetic procedures. Anaesthesia is no longer considered a non-negotiable aspect of surgical care, and anaesthetists need to be aware of current issues surrounding provision of information concerning risks and benefits of anaesthesia, and obtaining consent.
This book provides useful, up-to-date information for anaesthetists and medico-legal practitioners regarding consent, risk and benefit in anaesthesia. It begins with the general principles of consent, and how risks and benefits might be conveyed. This is followed by an exploration of the clinical contexts in which consent is needed, covering obstetrics, emergency surgery, and critical care. Special considerations such as children, high risk patients, and the incapacitated/incompetent adult are also identified. Section 3 covers specific risks and benefits associated with anaesthesia. These are referenced by phsyiological system and and anaethetic technique, and illustrated with case scenarios to provide the reader with accessible information that is relevant to daily practice. The book concludes with valuable contributions from those outside anaesthesia: the legal perspective, and that of the patient. Edited by experts in medico-legal studies and anaesthesia, this first book in this complex field will prove invaluable for those dealing with the increasing demands of consent, benefit, and risk in anaesthesia.