Dr Roma Patil,

Intern, Bangalore Medical College and Research Institute

I believe that complete transparency is the right of every patient and its delivery, the duty of every doctor. As medical students, our exposure to the art of consent taking begins during internship. We would have all observed our PG residents take consent at various points during a patients stay in the hospital such as – prior to admission, before any surgery, procedure or treatment, if an escalation to the ICU is needed (high risk consent) or when the patient wants to leave the hospital against medical advice (the infamous DAMA consent). We ourselves might have taken consent from patients while working on a research project if the study involved usage of patient data.

Simple consent entails that a patient with decision-making capacity freely authorizes a treatment plan aimed at a mutually acknowledged treatment goal. The authorization is “informed” when the physician discloses and the patient understands the diagnosis, all the available options for treatment (including no treatment) and the respective risks and benefits of all the modalities. The informed consent process should be documented thoroughly.

Autonomy refers to the right of individuals to make their own decisions based on their values, preferences, and understanding of the situation. Transparent communication respects this autonomy by empowering patients to make informed choices that align with their goals and beliefs. Transparency fosters trust between healthcare providers and patients. When healthcare professionals openly share information about diagnoses, treatment plans, and potential outcomes, patients feel respected and valued. Complete transparency also facilitates shared decision-making by providing patients with the information they need to actively engage in discussions about their care and contribute to the decision-making process.

Research has also shown that patients who are actively involved in their own healthcare decisions tend to experience better health outcomes [2]. Complete transparency enables patients to understand the rationale behind their treatment plans, adhere to recommended therapies, and actively participate in their own recovery process. Transparent communication can help manage patient expectations regarding their prognosis, treatment outcomes, and healing process. Patients who have realistic expectations about their healthcare journey, tend to be more receptive to challenges and setbacks along the way.

Lastly, complete transparency is the ethical and legal right of every patient and we as doctors must uphold it. Not just the most important information, but every single detail must be discussed with the patient. They should be then allowed to make an informed decision by themselves. We can guide them through the process, but the final say should be theirs.


1.Hall DE, Prochazka AV, Fink AS. Informed consent for clinical treatment. CMAJ. 2012;184(5):533-540. doi:10.1503/cmaj.112120



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