Obstetrics and gynaecology residents’ knowledge of the informed consent process and its practice in their training institutions
Introduction: The ethical principle of autonomy as expressed in the practice of informed consent is a core tenet of clinical practice and good patient physician relationship.
Aim: The aim was to identify specific gaps in the knowledge of trainee obstetricians and gynecologists in Nigeria about the informed consent process and its content. It also sought to describe the practice of informed consent in their respective institutions.
Materials and Methods: A survey of Residents in obstetrics and gynecology attending the revision course of the Faculty of obstetrics and gynecology of the national postgraduate medical college was done to determine their knowledge of the informed consent process and its practice in their institutions.
Results: None of the residents was able to give responses that contained all five conditions for informed consent to be valid. Furthermore, only 3 (2.22%) Residents mentioned that the name of the surgeon to perform the surgery should be part of the information provided to patients during the informed consent process. Similarly, only 8 (5.93%) mentioned that consequences of not having the surgery should be part of the informed consent process. The concept of the ‘emancipated minor’ being competent to give consent was known by 38% of the residents.
Conclusion: Although Residents in obstetrics and gynecology in Nigeria have some knowledge of the informed consent process, this knowledge is deficient in key areas such as competence to give consent, content and scope of information to be disclosed to patients for surgery. There is a need to teach residents the rudiments of informed consent and bioethics in general.
Keywords: Informed consent, obstetric and gynecological procedure, residents’ knowledge