PATIENT INFORMATION IS COMPULSORY
The duty to inform the patient is a legal and ethical obligation required of the physician. All practitioners must inform the patient in order to obtain his/her consent for the care being proposed.
"The physician has an obligation to provide the person who he/she examines, cares for or advises, with correct information that is clear and appropriate, concerning his/her condition and the investigations and care he/she proposes. For the duration of the patient's illness, the physician takes into account the patient's personality when giving explanations and ensures that these explanations are understood..."
Medical information can only be given by a physician. The physicians and paramedical personnel participate in informing the patient, but each one does so within his/her field of competence.
The third point in the summary of the hospitalised patients' charter repeats the previous principles: "The information given to the patient must be comprehensible and correct. The patient participates in the choice of his/her treatment".
The patient's consent to care is required due to the contractual nature of the physician/patient relationship.
The notion of informed consent, which implies that the physician is responsible for clearly presenting all the risks of a treatment to the patient, is however relatively recent.
The law of July 29, 1994 concerning respect of the body modified by article 70 of law 99-641 of July 27, 1998, states that there can only be trespass to the person in case of medical necessity. The consent of the person concerned should be obtained beforehand, except in the event that his/her condition requires a therapeutic procedure to which he/she is unable to give consent"
To preserve the patient's autonomy and make him/her responsible for his/her decision, his/her consent for the proposed care:
- Is free: The patient makes his/her decision without duress; care can also be refused;
- Can be revoked at any moment: The patient can withdraw his/her consent whenever he/she pleases;
- Is informed: It is given following complete medical information provided on:
- the different options regarding the actions to be taken, because the patient must be capable of participating in these choices;
- the predictable, frequent or serious risks of the different options;
- the predictable consequences in case of refusal;
- specific to each stage of the diagnosis and treatment of the current problem;
- ideally, formulated in writing.