Before you undergo any type of treatment for a health condition, your health care provider is legally required to explain the benefits of the recommendation, and the risks, so you can weigh them carefully and make an informed decision. Most doctors in New Mexico take this responsibility seriously, providing you with statistics that indicate your best chances of recovery. However, according to the Society for Vascular Surgery, some researchers do not believe these informed consent measures go far enough, particularly when it comes to elderly patients.

While you certainly can get an idea of how likely you are to survive a procedure by looking at percentages rating the outcomes of people in similar situations, these numbers probably will not give you a picture of what the surgery will be like for you. Not only that, there may be a low risk that you will die during the operation, but there may be a high risk that your quality of life afterward will be significantly decreased, even though the treatment is ultimately successful. The chances of dying soon after the surgery, without regaining consciousness, may also be high.

Experts believe that unless your doctor discusses all best and worst case scenarios with you, rather than presenting you with the information that meets the minimum requirements, you are not truly able to provide informed consent. Only when you fully understand all the possible outcomes are you in a position to consent to a treatment. Although this information may be helpful when it comes to a discussion with your doctor about procedures, it should not be interpreted as medical or legal advice.