Looking after the best interests of your baby is a fundamental part of parenthood. That responsibility includes making choices about your baby’s medical treatment.
Doctors and nurses want the best for your baby too, and that means keeping you informed and respecting your views.
Consent or permission
Medical staff have a professional duty to:
- explain everything that is happening to your baby.
- make sure you understand the options.
- work with you to make decisions together about your baby’s care.
Following these steps and seeking your approval is called ‘informed consent’. This may be used for many procedures such as routine blood tests which are considered low risk for your baby. You will be asked to sign consent forms for major procedures like an operation.
However, if your baby develops a serious and unexpected problem when you are not in the hospital, it may be necessary to begin tests and treatment urgently, before there is a chance to speak to you. In this situation, the doctors or nurses should explain what has been done and why, as soon as they can.
You should always feel free to ask about any test or procedure, and don’t be afraid to make it clear if you are not happy to consent. If you’re not sure, or it’s a big decision, you can ask for a second opinion. If something has gone wrong, it’s best to bring it up right away and try to have the problem set right.
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