The law in Denmark prescribes that the patient and the general practitioner to whom the patient directs his or her request for sterilization are obliged to confirm by their signatures that the patient has received information about sterilization, its risk and consequences. We asked 97 men and 96 women, if they had received this information prior to their sterilization. They were also asked about their knowledge about sterilization. 54% of the women and 35% of the men indicated that they had not received information. Only few of these wished further information by the hospital doctor. Knowledge about sterilization was good. It is concluded that the information to the patient prior to sterilization is far from optimal. The patients' signature confirming verbal information is not a sufficient safeguard. We recommend, among other things, that the patient should receive written information and that both the general practitioner and the hospital responsible for the operation should ensure that optimal information is received by the patient.
Comment In: Ugeskr Laeger. 1992 Nov 16;154(47):3346-71462445