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Informed Consent

Informed consent to medical treatment is fundamental in both ethics and law. Patients have the right to receive information and ask questions so that they can make well-considered decisions about care.

In Oregon, ORS 677.097 outlines the requirements for informed consent: 
(1) In order to obtain the informed consent of a patient, a physician or physician assistant shall explain the following:
  • (a) In general terms the procedure or treatment to be undertaken;
  • (b) That there may be alternative procedures or methods of treatment, if any; and
  • (c) That there are risks, if any, to the procedure or treatment.
(2) After giving the explanation specified in subsection (1) of this section, the physician or physician assistant shall ask the patient if the patient wants a more detailed explanation. If the patient requests further explanation, the physician or physician assistant shall disclose in substantial detail the procedure, the viable alternatives and the material risks unless to do so would be materially detrimental to the patient. In determining that further explanation would be materially detrimental the physician or physician assistant shall give due consideration to the standards of practice of reasonable medical or podiatric practitioners in the same or a similar community under the same or similar circumstances.

Additionally, ORS 676.360 outlines the requirements for a pelvic examination in Oregon:
(1) A person may not knowingly perform a pelvic examination on a woman who is anesthetized or unconscious in a hospital or medical clinic unless:
  • (a) The woman or a person authorized to make health care decisions for the woman has given specific informed consent to the examination;
  • (b) The examination is necessary for diagnostic or treatment purposes; or
  • (c) A court orders the performance of the examination for the collection of evidence.
(2) A person who violates subsection (1) of this section is subject to discipline by any licensing board that licenses the person.

Codes of Ethics Resources:
New: On April 1, 2024, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued a Letter to the Nation's Teaching Hospitals and Medical Schools clarifying the requirement to obtain informed consent from patients before sensitive examinations, especially for patients under anesthesia. Additionally, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued new guidance revising and clarifying the Hospital Interpretive Guidelines for Informed Consent.

Updated: May 2024