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Informed consent for medical photography in Nigerian surgical practice

Charles T. Soo
Daniel D. Mue
Edwin I. Ogwuche


Background: The aim of this study is to assess the current practice of informed consent for medical photography in the Nigerian surgical practice and how it compares to international best practices.
Methods: Self-administered questionnaires were distributed to consenting surgeons attending two major surgical conferences. The questionnaire assessed respondents' practices and opinions of informed consent for medical photography.
Results: Teaching, research and publications were the commonest indications for medical photography. 29.9% of respondents always obtained informed consent, while 2.6% never obtained informed consent for medical photography. Verbal consent was the preferred form of consent. Most respondents were unaware of existing guidelines on medical photography. Most University based surgeons opined that consent be obtained for all medical photographs, while most non-University surgeons align with consent for only identifying photographs. (P=0.012). Most respondents agreed that consent for treatment does not by extension cover medical photography. Most respondents do no agree that a policy of mandatory consent for medical photographs will negatively affect publications.
Conclusion: The practice of informed consent for medical photography is widespread but inconsistent among Nigerian surgeons. There is need for increased awareness especially among non-university based surgeons of current international best practices with respect to medical photography. Definite local guidelines in tune with established bioethical principles ought to be formulated by institutions and  regulators of medical practice in Nigeria.

Keywords: Informed consent, medical photography, surgeons, Nigeria.

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eISSN: 1596-2407