Adequacy of consent in patients with distal radius fractures

Int Orthop. 2009 Oct;33(5):1311-3. doi: 10.1007/s00264-009-0767-4. Epub 2009 Apr 4.


Health professionals have a legal and ethical obligation to obtain a valid consent before any procedure. The aim of this study was to assess the adequacy of consent for treatment of distal radius fractures. It also outlines potential improvements that could be made. A study of patients undergoing treatment for distal radius fracture was undertaken. We analysed the risks and complications recorded on the consent form. The common recorded risks were infection (95.6%), vascular injuries (77.8%), nerve injuries (66.7%) and stiffness (42.2%); 31.1% of the consent forms had abbreviations. Junior doctors who consented the patients performed 6.7% of the procedures. The poor documentation of risks or complications indicates that patients are not given appropriate information to ensure that the consent is valid. Proper documentation and refining of consent forms is mandatory to ensure that all major risks are understood by patients. This could go a long way in preventing litigation.

MeSH terms

  • Consent Forms / standards*
  • Emergency Medicine / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Emergency Medicine / methods
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Informed Consent / standards*
  • Jurisprudence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Orthopedics / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Orthopedics / standards*
  • Postoperative Complications
  • Radius Fractures / surgery*
  • Records
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors