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Editor's Correspondence
November 12, 2001

Informed Consent and the Placement of Percutaneous Endoscopic Gastrostomy Tubes

Arch Intern Med. 2001;161(20):2505-2506. doi:

I read with interest the article by Brett and Rosenberg1 about the adequacy of informed consent for the placement of percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG) feeding tubes. I undertook a similar study in a large district general hospital (Blackburn Royal Infirmary, Blackburn, Lancashire, England), serving a population of approximately 250 000 people in northwest England. The medical notes on 63 consecutive PEG placements performed between December 1994 and August 1997 were obtained from the endoscopy unit database and reviewed. Mental competence was inferred from the medical, nursing, and therapy records. The presence in the notes of any record referring to a discussion with the patient or a relative regarding the PEG procedure was logged as "any discussion." Reference in the records, however brief, to the risks and benefits of the procedure was deemed to represent a discussion of the "specific" benefits and risks of the intervention. The consent forms were reviewed with regard to the status of the person who had provided the signature.

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