"I don't believe that getting a consent form
that says "might" precludes physicians from
informing their patients about who will
actually perform the procedure before it
happens. " You are free to believe that -
even if your belief is wrong.
The American Medical Association states the following on its website regarding informed consent:
Informed consent is more than simply getting a patient to sign a written consent form. It is a process of communication between a patient and physician that results in the patient's authorization or agreement to undergo a specific medical intervention.
In the communications process, you, as the physician providing or performing the treatment and/or procedure (not a delegated representative), should disclose and discuss with your patient:
- The patient's diagnosis, if known;
- The nature and purpose of a proposed treatment or procedure;
- The risks and benefits of a proposed treatment or procedure;
- Alternatives (regardless of their cost or the extent to which the treatment options are covered by health insurance);
- The risks and benefits of the alternative treatment or procedure; and
- The risks and benefits of not receiving or undergoing a treatment or procedure.
In turn, your patient should have an opportunity to ask questions to elicit a better understanding of the treatment or procedure, so that he or she can make an informed decision to proceed or to refuse a particular course of medical intervention.
This communications process, or a variation thereof, is both an ethical obligation and a legal requirement spelled out in statutes and case law in all 50 states." (italics mine)
This information, taken directly from the Association of which every physician is a member, would appear to support my "belief".
There is a distinct difference between medical students participating, or sharing, in the care of a patient and a resident, who only has a provisional license to practice medicine, actually performing a procedure--even if it is "under the direction of and in the prescence of the attending physician". Whether the doctor is actually performing the procedure, or merely supervising it, is very important information. A patient should be provided this information and have been able to ask questions about the qualifications of the resident that would be performing the procedure, or at the very least, have the opportunity to meet them prior to the prodecure. This information would definitely influence the decision of the patient to undergo a specific procedure.