Informed Consent for Procedures Performed by Other Physicians

It is the position of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine that emergency physicians should not obtain informed consent for any procedure they will not personally perform or supervise.

With respect to patients who present to the Emergency Department with STEMI, the American Heart Association recommends a door-to-balloon time of 90 minutes or less. In order to meet this benchmark, centers have implemented various strategies to expedite the diagnosis and transfer of STEMI patients to the catheterization lab. One such strategy asks the treating emergency physician (EP) to obtain written consent for interventional cardiac catheterization. While the Board of the AAEM supports the goal of timely treatment of AMI, it cannot recommend that EPs obtain informed consent for procedures performed by other specialists. According to the AMA, informed consent “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.”(1) The AMA explains that, “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 specifics of the procedure as well as risks and benefits.” (1)

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