Skip to main content
Go to homepage

Print Page

What Is Informed Consent?

My son is having surgery in a few weeks. The nurses gave us educational materials to learn more about it, in preparation for something called "informed consent." What does this mean?
– Ned

Informed consent is a legal term. It means that you are fully aware of the facts of a situation (in this case, a surgical procedure) before agreeing to it. Other situations that need informed consent include blood transfusions, anesthesia, and vaccines.

To get your informed consent, the doctor will discuss with you things such as:

  • your child's diagnosis
  • details about the procedure or treatment, and why it's recommended
  • the risks and benefits involved
  • any possible alternative treatments
  • the risks and benefits of any alternatives
  • the risks and benefits of NOT undergoing the treatment or procedure

It is the doctor's responsibility to make sure you understand the medical problem and treatment. During the discussion, you can ask questions. This is your right and responsibility — and there's no such thing as a silly question. You'll be asked to sign a written consent form before the surgery. If you can't be there to sign the form, you'll be contacted by phone to give your consent.

In rare emergencies, a parent might be unavailable to give consent for a treatment for a young child — for example, if an unconscious patient comes into the ER. Then, doctors apply the principle of "presumed"or "implied" consent, using their professional judgment to do what is best for the child.

Reviewed by: Kate M. Cronan, MD
Date Reviewed: 11-11-2019

Lea este articulo en Español

What next?

Summit Mall Play Area
Answer Key:
Click to expand
There are 10 nurses in the picture.

And we have many more pediatric primary care providers in Northeast Ohio. You can meet some of them here.
Summit Mall Play Area
Answer Key:
Click to expand
The five differences are:
– Phone color
– Coat pocket
– Stethoscope earpiece color
– Stethoscope bell dot
– Clipboard paper color

Need help finding a doctor, choosing a location or getting a general question about Akron Children's answered? Call us or fill out the form and we'll help in any way we can.
Summit Mall Play Area
Answer Key:
Click to expand
The two matching doctors are 9 and 14.

With virtual visits, you can see our pediatric experts from the comfort of home or wherever you are.
Summit Mall Play Area
Answer Key:
Click to expand
The correct path:
The Correct Path
We offer many ways to get pediatric care all over Northeast Ohio. Use this page to find the right kind of care and the most convenient location for you.