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J R Soc Med. 1999 March; 92(3): 132–133.
PMCID: PMC1297103

Issues of consent in colonoscopy: if a patient says 'stop' should we continue?


Colonoscopy is generally performed under intravenous sedation, which may alter a patient's responses and perception. What should be done if, during the procedure, a patient withdraws the consent previously given? The views of gastroenterologists and patients were ascertained by mailing questionnaires to 100 members of the British Society of Gastroenterology and to 100 patients who had undergone colonoscopy with intravenous sedation. Only 1 of 59 eligible consultants who replied said they would stop the procedure after a single request, but a further 51 would stop if repeatedly asked to do so. Of the remaining 7 who would complete the procedure, 1 nevertheless believed that a sedated patient is capable of making a rational decision. Of the 51 patients who returned a usable questionnaire, 25 thought that the procedure should be stopped immediately following a request, while 26 felt that the doctor should continue. The divergent and sometimes inconsistent views found in this study highlighted the need for further clarification of the issue of informed consent for procedures conducted with the patient under sedation.

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Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Levine EG, Brandt LJ, Plumeri P. Informed consent: a survey of physician outcomes and practices. Gastrointest Endosc. 1995 May;41(5):448–452. [PubMed]
  • Gerstenberger PD, Plumeri PA. Malpractice claims in gastrointestinal endoscopy: analysis of an insurance industry data base. Gastrointest Endosc. 1993 Mar-Apr;39(2):132–138. [PubMed]
  • Pereira SP, Hussaini SH, Wilkinson ML. Informed consent for upper gastrointestinal endoscopy. Gut. 1995 Jul;37(1):151–153. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Elfant AB, Korn C, Mendez L, Pello MJ, Peikin SR. Recall of informed consent after endoscopic procedures. Dis Colon Rectum. 1995 Jan;38(1):1–3. [PubMed]

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