Document Type


Publication Date



Catherine A. Marco


Informed consent is an important ethical and legal requirement that underlies the concept of patient autonomy. This prospective survey study was conducted to assess patient recall and understanding of consent for treatment in adult emergency department (ED) patients at an urban level 1 trauma center with annual volume of 95,000, Miami Valley Hospital. Out of a total 293 patients, most individuals reported only receiving a verbal explanation of the consent document (45%) or not reading the document at all (36%). About half of the patients recalled consenting to treatment (N=144, 49%) and over one third of patients could not recall anything that they consented to during the consent process. These results demonstrate poor understanding of the informed consent document.