Surgical informed consent in obstetric and gynecologic surgeries: experience from a comprehensive teaching hospital in Southern Ethiopia
Million Teshome, Zenebe Wolde, Abel Gedefaw, Mequanent Tariku and Anteneh Asefa
Surgical Informed Consent (SIC) has long been recognized as an important component of modern medicine. The ultimate goals of SIC are to improve clients’ understanding of the intended procedure, increase client satisfaction, maintain trust between clients and health providers, and ultimately minimize litigation issues related to surgical procedures. The purpose of the current study is to assess the comprehensiveness of the SIC process for women undergoing obstetric and gynecologic surgeries.
A hospital-based cross-sectional study was undertaken at Hawassa University Comprehensive Specialized Hospital (HUCSH) in November and December, 2016. A total of 230 women who underwent obstetric and/or gynecologic surgeries were interviewed immediately after their hospital discharge to assess their experience of the SIC process. Thirteen components of SIC were used based on international recommendations, including the Royal College of Surgeon’s standards of informed consent practices for surgical procedures. Descriptive summaries are presented in tables and figures.
Forty percent of respondents were aged between 25 and 29 years. Nearly a quarter (22.6%) had no formal education. More than half (54.3%) of respondents had undergone an emergency surgical procedure. Only 18.4% of respondents reported that the surgeon performing the operation had offered SIC, while 36.6% of respondents could not recall who had offered SIC. All except one respondent provided written consent to undergo a surgical procedure. However, 8.3% of respondents received SIC service while already on the operation table for their procedure. Only 73.9% of respondents were informed about the availability (or lack thereof) of alternative treatment options. Additionally, a majority of respondents were not informed about the type of anesthesia to be used (88.3%) and related complications (87.4%). Only 54.2% of respondents reported that they had been offered at least six of the 13 SIC components used by the investigators.
There is gap in the provision of comprehensive and standardized pre-operative counseling for obstetric and gynecologic surgeries in the study hospital. This has a detrimental effect on the overall quality of care clients receive, specifically in terms of client expectations and information needs.