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HLT POL 100 Chapter N/A: HLT POL Week 5 reading 3

Health Policy and Management
Course Code
Marcy Boroff

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HLT POL Week 5 reading 3
You have the right to know all risks, benefits and treatment alternatives before consenting to any
You have the right to refuse treatment by withholding your consent.
Informed consent is more than merely your agreement to a particular treatment or procedure. Informed
consent is your agreement to a proposed course of treatment based on receiving clear, understandable
information about the treatment's potential benefits and risks.1 You must also be informed about all
treatments available for your health condition, and the risks of receiving no treatment.
The first step is having the appropriate information about your medical condition. Once you know about
all the risks, benefits and treatment alternatives, you may decide the risks are too great or the benefits
too few to justify undergoing the treatment. With this kind of information, you may choose to refuse the
treatment by withholding your consent.
Simple and Common Exception:
The first occurs when a "simple and common" procedure, such as a typical blood screening is
performed. When risks from such procedures are commonly understood to be remote, your doctor
need not discuss the risks, benefits or alternatives to the procedure with you.2 You must still agree to
the procedure, however, before it is done.
Emergency Exception:
The second situation is in a life-threatening emergency. This is known as the Emergency Exception.3
An "emergency" is defined for purposes of this exception as a situation requiring immediate treatment
of a medical condition that would otherwise lead to serious disability or death.4
There are two specific limitations on the Emergency Exception:
If the patient is unable to give consent, the physician must make a reasonable effort to locate a family
member or legally authorized representative who can give informed consent on behalf of the patient
before treatment.6
No treatment can be given if the doctor knows or has reason to know that the patient has previously
executed a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care or a Declaration under the Natural Death Act that
expressly refuses life saving treatment.
Often, your informed consent comes informally in the course of discussion with your doctor during a
routine office visit or similar situation.
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