a. Inferred (From Patient Conduct). When a patient voluntarily submits to a
procedure with apparent knowledge of the nature of said procedure, the courts will
usually find implied consent.
Implied consent: approval inferred from the patient's conduct; or voluntary
submission with apparent knowledge of the nature of the procedure; or presumed
consent in a life-threatening emergency.
It may be taken for granted that a patient who requests admission to a hospital, or
seeks a clinical appointment or other treatment, implicitly consents to the ordinary,
diagnostic and therapeutic measures used by the physician and hospital. The very
request for a diagnosis and cure suggests a willingness to submit to many procedures.
Therefore, it is not necessary to explain each of these ordinary measures to obtain
consent. In implied consent situations, the patient's actions or other circumstances
IMPLIED CONSENT SITUATIONS
Request for admission to a hospital.
Presentation for a clinical appointment.
Emergency situations (with an imminent threat to life, health, or well-being).
Figure 1-3. In implied consent situations, the patient's actions or other circumstances
indicate that consent exists.
b. Voluntary Submission with Apparent Knowledge. If a patient voluntarily
submits to a procedure with actual or apparent knowledge of what is about to
transpire, this submission constitutes implied consent. It is not practical, nor
necessary for an x-ray technologist, for example, to seek written consent every time a
patient is positioned. Implied consent, in many cases, means that a patient
demonstrates consent by his or her own behavior. The radiographer announces to the
patient, "I am going to put a needle in your patella." Consent is inferred by the fact that
the patient is sitting in a hospital gown outside the x-ray door, and came in with an x-
ray slip. If the patient had been planning to refuse the procedure, refusal would have
been made before actually reaching the x-ray room.
c. Apparent vs. Actual Knowledge. The difficulty with implied consent is that
there is no way of knowing what the patient actually knows about the proposed
procedure. The patient who presents him or herself outside the x-ray room may not
realize, for example, that the radiographer will have to handle him or her to feel or
palpate bones. But in general, voluntary submission, with apparent knowledge of the
nature of a procedure, is recognized as implied consent by the courts.