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July 28, 2010

Patient-Centered Care and Informed Consent

JAMA. 2010;304(4):409-410. doi:10.1001/jama.2010.1029

To the Editor: Although I find the motivation behind the patient-centered informed consent proposed in the Commentary by Dr Krumholz1 commendable, I believe that its implementation is improbable in the current surgical culture. As Krumholz states, almost 70% of patients do not read the informed consent form, and this may be more prevalent in the same-day surgery setting. A patient's signature may be no more than a sign of implicit trust that the form presented, no matter how written, bears the imprimatur of the surgeon and the hospital. Moreover, even if the informed consent is read, however simple the language, a signature does not denote comprehension, which is the most important element in informed consent.

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