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Consent for the purpose of medical treatment means grant of permission by the patient for an act to be carried out by the doctor, such as a diagnostic, surgical or therapeutic procedure.
The doctor-patient contract is almost always of the implied type, except where a written informed consent is obtained because no formal contract is usually written when a patient visits a doctor.
The Black’s Law Dictionary defines the terms express consent and implied consent as:
“Express consent - Consent that is clearly and unmistakably stated.Implied consent - 1. Consent inferred from ones conduct rather than from ones direct expression. — Also termed implied permission. 2. Consent imputed as a result of circumstances that arise, as when a surgeon removing a gallbladder discovers and removes colon cancer.”
Thus, it can be said that the relationship between a doctor and his patient is of an implied contract. Although there is no written or oral explicit contract between them, it is implied that the doctor is expected to cure the patient and the patient pays fees in consideration.
- A patient enters a doctor’s clinic and sits in the examination chair, his consent is implied for examination, diagnosis and consultation.
- Persons who offer medical advice and treatment implicitly state that they have the skill and knowledge to do so, that they have the skill to decide whether to take a case, to decide the treatment, and to administer that treatment.