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J R Soc Med. 1996 April; 89(4): 196–198.
PMCID: PMC1295734

Informed consent in Indian patients.


It is commonly believed that patients in India do not need to be told about their operations as they are unable to understand the complexities and forget the salient facts soon afterwards. Obtaining informed consent is therefore considered to be an unnecessary ritual. We studied 100 consecutive patients undergoing elective major abdominal operations and asked them 5 days after their operations to recall certain details about the procedure which had been explained to them preoperatively. Seventy per cent of the patients recalled the relevant data. The ability was the same in males and females (67% and 69%) but the older, less educated and poorer patients performed worse than the others. Ninety-eight per cent of the patients appreciated being given the information as it reduced their anxiety about the operation. Indian patients are able to comprehend and should be informed about the details of their operation. Particular care should be taken during explanation to the old, poor and illiterate. In these informed consent should be a continuous process rather than a single event and the information should also be given to a younger and more educated relative.

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Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Baum M. Do we need informed consent? Lancet. 1986 Oct 18;2(8512):911–912. [PubMed]
  • Robinson G, Merav A. Informed consent: recall by patients tested postoperatively. Ann Thorac Surg. 1976 Sep;22(3):209–212. [PubMed]
  • Byrne DJ, Napier A, Cuschieri A. How informed is signed consent? Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1988 Mar 19;296(6625):839–840. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Lidz CW, Appelbaum PS, Meisel A. Two models of implementing informed consent. Arch Intern Med. 1988 Jun;148(6):1385–1389. [PubMed]
  • Kerrigan DD, Thevasagayam RS, Woods TO, Mc Welch I, Thomas WE, Shorthouse AJ, Dennison AR. Who's afraid of informed consent? BMJ. 1993 Jan 30;306(6873):298–300. [PMC free article] [PubMed]

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