Legal responsibilities: consent in emergency treatment
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Legal responsibilities: consent in emergency treatment

John Whitcher Practice educator, Accident and Emergency Department, Royal Gwent Hospital, Gwent

The issue of consent is complex but fundamental to the provision of medical care. Most patients who attend an emergency department will be able to make their own decisions regarding the care they receive. Patients who are seriously injured or have reduced or absent capacity may have to rely on healthcare professionals to make decisions on their behalf. Healthcare professionals must ensure that they act as patient advocates and that medical care and treatment are carried out in patients’ best interests. This article addresses issues relating to consent in emergency departments.

Nursing Standard. 23, 9, 35-42. doi: 10.7748/ns2008.


Peer review

This article has been subject to double blind peer review