informed consent, patient information retention


Introduction: Informed consent is extremely important in the practice of medicine. It is a frequently discussed topic in medical ethics. Research shows that patient often sign a consent form although do not understand the information that was presented to them. Research also shows that they do not recall the information that was provided to them. The authors attempt to determine how much information patients retain. Methods: This is a prospective, double blinded, pilot study of patients presenting to the Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Outpatient Clinic of the Brooklyn Hospital Center (TBHC) for the extraction of wisdom teeth. The number of correct answers were compared in 2 points in time. Results: One hundred and eight patients were interviewed at one week and one month after surgery. Our patients demonstrated a statistically significant (<0.005) decrease in the recall of question 3 through 10. The number of correct responses was not associated with age. Three questions were associated with educational level. Overall, there was a definite decrease in the retention of vital information within a short time period. Conclusion: Need for new approaches to the informed consent process cannot be contested.