A Survey on Applying Ethics of Informed Consent Among Egyptian Surgeons

Document Type : Original Article


1 Forensic Medicine and Clinical Toxicology Department, Faculty of Medicine, Alexandria University, Egypt.

2 Community Medicine Department, Faculty of Medicine, University of Alexandria


Surgical informed consent (SIC) is a fundamental part of safe clinical practice. SIC is an outcome of a proper informative process between surgeons and patients. The current study aimed to assess SIC-related practices among Egyptian surgeons. A self-administered questionnaire was formulated upon review of available literature and surgeons were invited to submit their responses electronically. 97 Egyptian surgeons participated in the study. Participants less than 40 years old represented 85.6% and 91.8% had less than 20 years’ experience. Most surgeons (83.6%) had postgraduate qualifications, 38.1% were consultants. Upon analysis of responses, it was found that 73.2% of the surgeons didn’t consider non-obtaining valid SIC an error. Regarding SIC practices, it was found that 82.5% of surgeons informed patients of all the possible risks, 75.3% of participants emphasized expected surgical outcomes and 70.1% ensured that patients understood the relevant information. 63.9% of surgeons explained the drawbacks of the procedure’s refusal. Also, 63.9% of surgeons documented SIC elements. Alternative treatment strategies were provided by 62.9% of participants. Regarding scoring of these six SIC practices, the median score was 5. Male surgeons had significantly higher median scores compared to females (p=0.003). Higher scores were observed among those less than 40 years old, consultants and those with doctorate degrees. The study concluded that a high percentage of participating surgeons didn’t appreciate the relationship between non-obtaining valid SIC and malpractice. However, the participants’ practices of SIC elements were generally good. Current results highlighted need to raise surgeons' awareness of ideal SIC practices.