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According to Section 10 of the Indian Contract Act, 1872, an agreement is a contract when it is made for some consideration, between parties who are competent, with their free consent and for a lawful object. Thus, for the purpose of entering into a contract, free consent is one of the essential.
According to Section 14 of the Indian Contract Act, 1872, consent is said to be free when it is not caused by coercion, undue influence, fraud, misrepresentation and mistake.
Thus, if the patient or his guardian gives consent under coercion, undue influence, fraud, misrepresentation or mistake or by a person who is minor, or is mentally unsound, not fully conscious, intoxicated or who is ignorant of the implications of such consent, then such consent is not valid.
Blanket consent given at the time of admission is invalid.
Separate consent for specific procedure and for anesthesia before conducting the procedure may be taken.
A signed written consent form by itself does not constitute valid consent, though it is an evidence of consent given by the patient or his guardian. The following components are essential for a valid consent form:
- The patient gives it voluntarily without any coercion
- The patient has the capacity and competence to give consent.
- The patient has an adequate level of information about the nature of the procedure to which he is consenting.