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October 7, 1974

Informed Consent

Author Affiliations

Los Angeles

JAMA. 1974;230(1):38. doi:10.1001/jama.1974.03240010022019

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To the Editor.—  I have long urged physicians to have consent forms signed in the office before hospitalization. The discussion vis-á-vis informed consent can best be accomplished in this manner. However, if such a preadmission conference is not feasible, the doctor should make the effort in the hospital, despite the drawbacks enumerated by Dr. Schonberg. In either instance, the same consent form may be used, accompanied by whatever additional entries may be necessary under the circumstances.Retention of the nurse-witness serves no practical or legal purpose, Dr. Schonberg's comments notwithstanding. If the jury will not believe the doctor, do we really expect it to be swayed by his office nurse or a hospital nurse over whom he can exert substantial influence?Since most nurses are not competent to evaluate the propriety of disclosures required for informed consent, their presence as witnesses serves only to attest patients' signatures. This seems unduly