Commentary: practicalities of seeking consent and gaining understanding

BMJ 2010; 341 doi: (Published 24 August 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;341:c4000
  1. Ravi Gill, consultant anaesthetist
  1. 1Shackleton Department of Anaesthesia, Southampton University Hospital NHS Trust, Southampton SO16 6YD
  1. ravi.gill{at}

    Farrell and Brazier set out the arguments for obtaining specific informed consent for allogeneic blood transfusion.1 They do not deal with allogeneic blood products, but I think their article can be assumed to cover this too. This subject is controversial, and the question of how to seek and record consent has been the subject of a recent consultation by the Department of Health’s Advisory Committee on the Safety of Blood, Tissues and Organs. A question Farrell and Brazier avoid is who should be responsible for gaining informed consent? Should it be those who provide the blood (the transfusion service, probably most informed about the risks) or those who prescribe it (probably least informed)? This is of crucial importance in the debate and has considerable …

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