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What is a Patient Consent Form?

Nicole Madison
Updated: May 16, 2024

A patient consent form is a document a patient signs to indicate that he gives his consent for a particular action. For example, a patient may sign this type of form to acknowledge that he is aware of the risks of a particular medical procedure and gives his consent for the treatment. An individual may also sign this type of form to give a doctor or a facility permission to release records or share information about his health. Sometimes a patient may even sign a patient consent form to give a medical professional or facility permission to include information about him in a publication.

In many cases, patients may be asked to sign these forms before receiving treatments or undergoing certain procedures. These forms often require patients to acknowledge that they have been told the risks and benefits of the procedure or treatment and are giving the medical professionals in question permission to perform the procedure. Often, these forms briefly explain the risks and benefits above the signature section so that patients are sure to see this information before signing. Sometimes, these forms also require the patient to fill in a short medical history section. For example, a person may have to provide details about his vaccination history when signing a patient consent form for a new vaccination.

Sometimes a patient may sign a patient consent form to give his permission for a health care professional or facility to share his information with someone else. For example, a person may sign a form to allow his specialist to share medical information about him with his primary care doctor. A patient may also sign a similar form to allow his doctor to share information about him with his insurance company or another organization. In some cases, a patient may even have to sign such a form if he wants to give his doctors permission to share his medical information with his family members.

Often, patients are also asked to sign patient consent forms because their doctors want to share information about them in some sort of publication. For example, a doctor may wish to publish information about a unique medical case in a medical journal. In such a case, he may have to obtain his patient's permission to share these details. In some places, a doctor may have to obtain permission even if he plans to publish this information without including identifying details such as the patient's name and age.

MyLawQuestions is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Nicole Madison
By Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison's love for learning inspires her work as a MyLawQuestions writer, where she focuses on topics like homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. Her passion for knowledge is evident in the well-researched and informative articles she authors. As a mother of four, Nicole balances work with quality family time activities such as reading, camping, and beach trips.
Discussion Comments
By bythewell — On Jul 15, 2011

This makes me think of DNRs or Do Not Resuscitate forms which patients at the end of their lives can sign to make sure the doctors won't try to prolong them.

It's basically the opposite of an informed consent form. It's a form telling the doctor he does not have permission to work.

I always wonder whether the people who sign them ever regret it. I'm not saying they should, but I can't imagine at this point in my life, being that sure I didn't want just a few more hours.

And I always feel sorry for doctors who have to abide by them.

It seems like they can be very frustrated by the way it turns out for some patients. I can understand that, and I sympathize.

By browncoat — On Jul 14, 2011

There have been cases where doctors are thought to have misused consent forms.

What springs to mind is the controversy over whether or not they should be allowed to develop cell lines from cancer samples taken from patients.

A cell line is when cells are grown continuously in the lab, to provide samples for medical researchers to test. Sometimes the cell lines continue long after the patient herself is dead. One cell line has been kept going since the 1950's, for example.

The courts have ruled that people don't have any right to their cells after they sign a medical consent form allowing doctors to take samples.

I don't want doctors to have no ability to test new medication, but I have to admit, this still seems wrong to me.

I feel like patients should at least get some compensation, or some say in whether or not their cells can be used.

Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison's love for learning inspires her work as a MyLawQuestions writer, where she focuses on topics like...
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