Defining Informed Consent and Informed Refusal

Being well and fully informed when making decisions about health care is essential. This is especially true when you are pregnant. When working with your health care provider, you need to make sure that you are providing consent for everything that he or she does and that he or she is respecting your decision any time you refuse to let them do something.

In the health care world, informed consent is the legal term used to state that you as the patient have agreed to a specific treatment after having been educated about the benefits, risks, and alternatives to that treatment. Informed refusal in the term for when you are educated about the benefits, risks, and alternatives to a treatment that your health care provider recommends and you choose not to accept that treatment.

In order for informed consent and refusal to truly happen, four things need to occur:

1. Your health care provider explains the treatment in its entirety, including all benefits and all risks and side effects.

2. Your health care provider explains alternatives to the treatment they are recommending and why they think the treatment they recommend is the best option.

3. You make a decision about whether or not to accept the recommendation or possibly one of the alternatives.

4. Your health care provider respects your decision and cares for you in the manner you have decided.

Erin Kearsley