One hundred and four patients were asked to recall what they had been told before they gave consent for cardiac catheterisation to be performed. Of these, 14% had received no explanation, 24% had not been warned to expect specific symptoms or side effects, 40% had been told that complications were possible, and 26% had been warned that there was a risk of death. Most patients did not know about these risks, and two thirds would not have wanted to be told about them. Doctors should neither insist on gaining fully informed consent from anxious patients nor deny detailed information to inquiring ones.
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