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From The CriticsReviewer: Holly A Bante, MPH, MS (Saint Louis University)
Description: This book discusses the complex issues that surround the consent process in healthcare and explains them in a basic and practical way. Consent applies to both the clinical and research arenas and overlaps with the law, which commonly leads to misunderstanding or applying the practices of consent incorrectly. This book examines an array of consent issues and couples each topic with the relevant legal discussion so that health professionals can understand their professional and legal obligations.
Purpose: It is intended to provide health professionals in England and Wales with a useful handbook on how to appropriately approach the often confusing realm of consent. The book covers basic principles for obtaining valid consent, using patient scenarios and checklists, and correct application of consent procedures under numerous statutes that protect patients' rights and welfare.
Audience: The author is a practicing lawyer who specializes in medical negligence and also is the founding director of the Health Professional Training Agency whose efforts are focused on legal training for healthcare professionals. She hopes to dispel inaccuracies in how the health professional interprets and applies consent procedures, thereby reducing the number of patient legal claims. Although the book is intended for various health professionals, others also can benefit from the book, and will readily understand the basic and straightforward presentation.
Features: From refusing and withdrawing treatment to removal of tissue, this book covers over 20 different areas, describing consent requirements for proper process. Most chapters include a rudimentary legal discussion, explaining pertinent legal statutes so that health professionals develop acceptable practices for obtaining consent. The chapters on informed consent and on obtaining consent from children are well written and untangle complicated issues such as therapeutic privilege and the Gillick competence and Fraser guidelines. The appendix has a consent algorithm, which provides a simple but comprehensive overview of the legal statutes as they pertain to specific patient situations.
Assessment: The book succeeds at providing health professionals an uncomplicated methodology for addressing complex issues when obtaining consent in various clinical and research practices. Although the book does not explore the ethical quandaries that commonly arise when discussing proper consent practices, the author unambiguously presents consent to treatment issues within the context of the law that will enhance understanding of the correct application of consent procedures among health professionals in England and Wales.