Why this SOP?

Patient’s autonomy is a universally recognized principle. Every patient has the right to know and make decisions about his / her healthcare choices. Patient’s consent, legally mandatory, is a functional expression of this autonomy. Unfortunately, it is also a major source of concern for the healthcare providers leading to unnecessary and avoidable litigation.

In January 2008, the Supreme Court of India redefined the law of consent in India, in the landmark case of Samira Kohli v/s Dr. Prabha Manchanda & Anr. The English doctrine of ‘real consent’ evolved from Bolams Law was preferred over the American doctrine (Canterbury) of ‘informed consent’. The court has observed:

“The nature and extent of information to be furnished by the doctor to the patient to secure the consent need not be of the stringent and high degree mentioned in Canterbury but should be of the extent which is accepted as normal and proper by a body of medical men skilled and experienced in the particular field.”

The onus now is with the doctors and medical societies to decide on the correct approach in managing patients and the same will be acceptable legally. This initiative is therefore an attempt to draft a SOP on patients consent in accordance with the Supreme Court’s view by involving eminent doctors and medical societies in the drafting process and keeping the whole process participative, consultative, and transparent