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1.  Anaesthetists' and surgeons' attitudes towards informed consent in the UK: an observational study 
BMC Medical Ethics  2010;11:2.
The attitudes of patients' to consent have changed over the years, but there has been little systematic study of the attitudes of anaesthetists and surgeons in this process. We aimed to describe observations made on the attitudes of medical professionals working in the UK to issues surrounding informed consent.
A questionnaire made up of 35 statements addressing the process of consent for anaesthesia and surgery was distributed to randomly selected anaesthetists and surgeons in Queen's Medical Centre (Nottingham), Royal Sussex County Hospital (Brighton) and Eastbourne District General Hospital (Eastbourne) during 2007. Participants were asked to what extent they agreed with statements regarding consent.
Of 234 questionnaires distributed, 63% were returned. Of the respondents 79% agreed that the main purpose of the consent process is to respect patient autonomy. While 55% of the examined cohort agreed that the consent process maybe inappropriate as patients do not usually remember all the information given to them. Furthermore, 84% of the participants agreed that what the procedure aims to achieve should be explained to the patient during the consent process. While of the participants, over 70% agreed that major risks of incidence greater than 1/100 should be disclosed to the patient as part of the consent process.
The majority of respondents appear to hold attitudes in standing with current guidelines on informed consent however there was still a significant minority who held more paternalistic views to the consent process bringing into question the need for further training in the area.
PMCID: PMC2834584  PMID: 20178621
2.  Operating theatre related syncope in medical students: a cross sectional study 
Observing surgical procedures is a beneficial educational experience for medical students during their surgical placements. Anecdotal evidence suggests that operating theatre related syncope may have detrimental effects on students' views of this. Our study examines the frequency and causes of such syncope, together with effects on career intentions, and practical steps to avoid its occurrence.
All penultimate and final year students at a large UK medical school were surveyed using the University IT system supplemented by personal approach. A 20-item anonymous questionnaire was distributed and results were analysed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences, version 15.0 (Chicago, Illinois, USA).
Of the 630 clinical students surveyed, 77 responded with details of at least one near or actual operating theatre syncope (12%). A statistically significant gender difference existed for syncopal/near-syncopal episodes (male 12%; female 88%), p < 0.05. Twenty-two percent of those affected were graduate entry medical course students with the remaining 78% undergraduate. Mean age was 23-years (range 20 – 45). Of the 77 reactors, 44 (57%) reported an intention to pursue a surgical career. Of this group, 7 (9%) reported being discouraged by syncopal episodes in the operating theatre. The most prevalent contributory factors were reported as hot temperature (n = 61, 79%), prolonged standing (n = 56, 73%), wearing a surgical mask (n = 36, 47%) and the smell of diathermy (n = 18, 23%). The most frequently reported measures that students found helpful in reducing the occurrence of syncopal episodes were eating and drinking prior to attending theatre (n = 47, 61%), and moving their legs whilst standing (n = 14, 18%).
Our study shows that operating theatre related syncope among medical students is common, and we establish useful risk factors and practical steps that have been used to prevent its occurrence. Our study also highlights the detrimental effect of this on the career intentions of medical students interested in surgery. Based on these findings, we recommend that dedicated time should be set aside in surgical teaching to address this issue prior to students attending the operating theatre.
PMCID: PMC2657145  PMID: 19284564

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