Informed Consent and Cultural Diversity

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Introduction : Informed consent allows a mentally competent patient to make his/her decision of undergoing
a medical procedure after adequate explanation. Individual practice of informed consent varies not only
among physicians but among different countries with different cultures, religious beliefs and practices.

Methods : We conducted a study to determine the patient’s desire for information regarding anaesthesia and
surgery; to determine whether variables like age, sex, education, type of surgery and previous anaesthesia
experiences have any association with the desire for information and to determine whether patients make
their own decisions or want their family to be involved in the decision making process or give consent on
their behalf. After written consent, patients visiting the preoperative clinic were asked to fill a questionnaires
of 17 pieces of information regarding anaesthesia and surgery.

Results : Majority of patients (91%) showed a desire for information. Among different variables only education
was found to be significantly associated with the desire for information. Educated patients had a higher
desire. A large number of patients wanted to involve family in decision-making and give consent on their
behalf. This trend was higher in females and less educated patients

Conclusions : We conclude from our study that educated people in society have more desire for information
and autonomy. Our study has also highlighted the influence of culture on the concept of patient autonomy
and informed consent.


Journal of Anaesthesiology Clinical Pharmacology