Patient consent forms are just one of many documents you are given before receiving medical or surgical treatment. Most people simply glance at these documents and sign where indicated without really understanding the details. Hospital waivers and patient consent forms are complicated documents that may, in some cases, empower health care providers to do more than provide informed consent as required by law. Be sure to take the time to read the waiver or consent form carefully and make sure you understand the treatment, possible risks and consequences.
Know your rights:
· You are not obligated to sign anything that you don’t agree with as a condition for receiving health care services.
· Signing a patient consent waiver does not take away your right to sue in cases of malpractice
· Doctors and hospitals may not perform procedures without your consent unless it is an emergency situation
· Your signature on the consent document gives the doctor and hospital your permission to go ahead with treatment. You have the right to ask as many questions as you need to ensure that you fully understand what is going to happen and what your possible risks are.
By law, doctors and hospitals are required to explain to patients all procedures, tests and surgeries beforehand and get their express consent before performing them. In many cases, signing a waiver provides limited protection to doctors and hospitals for unexpected consequences and medical malpractice. Do not be pressured into signing a waiver until you are satisfied that the treatment is warranted and the risks acceptable. You may exercise your right to a second opinion if you have any doubts. The final decision is always yours.