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What Is a Consent for Medical Treatment? Definition, Uses and Importance.

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Consent for medical treatment gives an individual the power and authority to make decisions on behalf of someone who cannot speak for themselves when they require medical treatment–an incapacitated person. As their caregiver/next friend (or relative), you have the right to request that the court approve this conservatorship in consideration of your statement of what is appropriate treatment-wise instead.

An incapacitated patient cannot engage meaningfully in medical decisions and court cases because they cannot communicate effectively. When a patient is mentally incompetent, their right to choose among a variety of professionally approved therapies is forfeited. In these cases, a substitute decision-maker is necessary.

An adult surrogate who has decision-making capacity, is available after reasonable inquiry, and is willing to consent to medical treatment on behalf of the patient may be chosen from the following list, in order of priority: a person who is a family member, a close friend, or a person who is a patient at a home and community support services agency or a hospital or nursing home, or an adult inmate of a county or municipal jail.

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All other competent adult children of the patient have waived and consented for the sole decision-maker to be the patient’s spouse;

The majority of the patient’s family members who are really accessible to assist are;

  • Parents of the patient; or
  • The patient’s closest living relative, a member of the clergy, or a person who the patient designated before the patient’s incapacity.
  • A party can be a surrogate decision-maker, only in the hands of a court of record with authority under Title 3 of the Estates Code.

To be covered by Subsection (a), any medical treatment must be based on what the patient would want if they knew.

A surrogate decision-maker may not consent to any of the following things:

  • Mental health inpatient services that are voluntarily provided;
  • Treatment by use of electro-convulsive treatment;
  • Appointment of an additional substitute decision-maker.

A surrogate decision-maker may not consent if the patient is an adult inmate in a county or municipal jail.

  • Psychotropic medication;
  • Volunteer mental health treatments; or involuntary inpatient care.
  • Treatment to regain the patient’s ability to stand trial.

When a person agrees to function as an adult surrogate for a patient who is an adult inmate of a county or municipal jail, that person may consent to medical care on behalf of the patient only for the 120th day following that date or until the inmate is released from prison, whichever occurs first. Only the patient or the patient’s designated guardian of the person, if the patient is a ward under Title 3, Estates Code, may consent to medical treatment at the end of the time.

If an adult patient of a home and community support services agency or in a hospital or nursing home, or an adult inmate of a county or municipal jail, is unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise mentally or physically incapable of communication and, according to reasonable medical judgment, requires medical treatment, the attending physician shall describe the:

Patient’s comatose state, incapacity, or another mental or physical inability to communicate in the patient’s medical record; and

  • Proposed medical treatment in the patient’s medical file is described after this.
  • Attending physicians are required to make a reasonable effort in contacting anyone who may be able to serve as surrogate decision-makers. All attempts to reach those individuals will be documented in great detail in the patient’s medical record.
  • The attending physician must sign the patient’s medical record and note the date and time when a surrogate decision-maker gave consent to medical treatment on behalf of the patient. The surrogate decision-maker must countersign the patient’s medical record or an informed consent form.
  • The home and community support services agency, hospital, or nursing home staff member who receives a surrogate decision-written maker’s consent to medical treatment shall sign and countersign the consent in the patient’s medical record or on an informed consent form as quickly as practicable.

There are two types of consent: explicit and implied. Explicit consent is given directly by the patient, while implied consent is inferred from the patient’s actions, the facts, and circumstances of a situation, or even the patient’s silence or inaction. It’s not required by law, but it’s always a good idea to get formal permission in some cases.

A consent form is merely a record of a conversation regarding a procedure or inquiry, not the actual procedure or investigation itself. Each discussion should be documented in the patient’s medical history.

A patient’s ability to make a decision is defined by the Mental Capacity Act (2005), and the Mental Health Acts (1983 and revised in 2007) explain the very restricted circumstances in which a patient can be forced to be hospitalized for examination and/or treatment against their wishes.

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  • Accede
  • Acquiesce
  • Agree
  • Assent
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