The role of the psychiatrist in obtaining informed consent from patients with somatic and mental comorbidity. Report of one case
Sociedad Medica de Santiago, Chile
The nature of mental disorders, the attitudes and prejudices of the social community towards psychiatric patients, the behavior and treatment of mental patients, all bring about numerous dilemmas and prejudices. When a patient is diagnosed with a mental disorder, he may suffer restrictions in the field of general human rights. However, the biggest problems in clinical practice occur in the treatment of patients who, besides their mental disorder also have a somatic disease. We report a 56-years-old female with a severe renal failure who refused to undergo dialysis. Following the patient’s refusal to sign an informed consent, a psychiatrist was called in for consultation and diagnosed an acute psychotic reaction. To manage the delusions and acute psychotic reactions, risperidone in the dose of 2 mg was started. After 22 days, the patient still had marked psychotic symptoms. A psychiatrist, a nephrologist and an anesthesiologist, in the presence of the spouse on the grounds of her life-threatening condition, decided to apply the necessary medical procedures even without the patient’s consent. A day after the start of dialysis the patient still had delusional ideas, but without the presence of anxiety, and the patient no longer offered resistance to dialysis. Four days after the first dialysis, the patient was calm, had vague memories about the entire previous period, and signed the informed consent concerning her further treatment.
Dialysis; Informed consent; Psychiatry; Psychotic disorders