Background: The clinical ethical process of shared decision making is mirrored by the legal doctrine of informed consent. The current practice of the process of consent taking in one of Iraq’s hospitals is audited in the current paper.
Methods: The consent taken from a random sample of 240 adult patients undergoing surgery in the surgical ward of Azadi teaching hospital was studied, medical records was reviewed and a questionnaire as to the effect of consenting was distributed on the patients.
Results: The consent was taken by a nurse in (76.6%) (184 patients) of cases, there were only 4 consent forms signed by the patients themselves, and only (40%) of patients had the consent taken 1-2 hours before the operation, the remaining had the consent taken at the time of operation. 40 patients (16.6%) had some verbal clarifications of the operation. Three months after addressing the defects in consent taking and despite an administration letter of the chief executive of the hospital highlighting the importance of the consent, the practice was only (10%) better.
Conclusions: There is a serious defect in obtaining a proper consent forms in one of Iraq’s hospitals. This should be looked at by the ministry of health and the current practice amended.