Informed consent from patients participating in medical education: a survey from a university hospital in JamaicaReport as inadecuate

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BMC Research Notes

, 2:252

First Online: 15 December 2009Received: 27 August 2009Accepted: 15 December 2009DOI: 10.1186-1756-0500-2-252

Cite this article as: Barnett, A.T., Cawich, S.O., Crandon, I.W. et al. BMC Res Notes 2009 2: 252. doi:10.1186-1756-0500-2-252


BackgroundMedical students at the University of the West Indies receive clinical training by passing through a series of hospital rotations at the University Hospital of the West Indies UHWI. Many of these patients are unaware that medical students may be involved in their care. We performed this study to determine patient awareness and their willingness to participate in research and teaching activities.

FindingsAll consecutive patients admitted to the UHWI between May 1, 2006 and May 29, 2006 who required elective or emergency surgical procedures were prospectively identified These patients were interviewed using a standardised pre-tested questionnaire about their knowledge and willingness to have medical students participate in the delivery of their hospital care. Data was analyzed using SPSS Version 12.0.

There were 83 39.5% males and 127 60.5% females interviewed. The patients were unaware of the grade of the medical professional performing their interview-examination at admission in 157 74.8% cases or the grade of medical professional performing their operations in 101 48.1% cases.

Only 14 6.7% patients were specifically asked to allow medical students to be present during their clinical evaluation and care. When specifically asked, 1 patient declined. Had they been asked, 196 93.3% patients would have voluntarily allowed medical student involvement.

Only 90 42.9% patients were made aware that they were admitted to an academic centre with research interests. Only 6 6.7% patients declined. Had they been asked, 84 93.3% patients would be willing to participate in teaching or research projects.

ConclusionsAs medical educators, we are responsible to adhere to ethical and legal guidelines when we interact with patients. It is apparent that there is urgent need for policy development at the UWI to guide clinicians and students on their interactions with patients.

Alan T Barnett, Shamir O Cawich, Ivor W Crandon, John F Lindo, Georgiana Gordon-Strachan, Diaqa Robinson and Deonne Ranglin contributed equally to this work.

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Author: Alan T Barnett - Shamir O Cawich - Ivor W Crandon - John F Lindo - Georgiana Gordon-Strachan - Diaqa Robinson - Deonne 



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