Public and private surgeon attitude towards informed consent
Background: Informed consent ranks as one of the most prominent issues in the recent bioethics literature due to increasing number of medico-legal cases and, the introduction of new national guidelines.
Objectives: The aim of this study is to examine the attitude of surgeons working in public and private hospitals towards informed consent.
Subjects and methods: This study is a cross-sectional survey that was conducted from January to June 2016 in all five governmental general hospitals, and two private hospitals in Kuwait. A selfadministered questionnaire was used to collect data from the surgeons working in the selected hospitals including six domains related to informed consent.
Results: The majority of surgeons believed that informed consent routinely achieved in their current practice and that all doctors should receive formal training on informed consent, though only 35.7% of public surgeon received training compared to 76.7% of private surgeons. Although 82.7% of public surgeons believed that written information leaflets should be provided for patients, only 41.1% provide their patients with these type of leaflets. There was no significant difference between public and private surgeons regarding the purpose of informed consent except that higher proportion of private surgeons believed that informed consent improves the doctor-patient relationship. There was an agreement between public and private surgeons that junior doctors should not conduct the informed consent. Higher proportion of private than public surgeons stated that the content of informed consent was affected by patient’s age, gender, and social class whereas level of education was thought by public surgeons.
Conclusion: Private surgeons differ from those in the public hospitals in that they tend to look at informed consent as not only an ethical and legal obligation, but also of benefit to patients. The introduction of formal training on informed consent in both types of hospitals are recommended.
Keywords: Informed consent, Attitude, Surgeons, Public, Private