How should parents be informed about major procedures? An exploratory trial in the neonatal period

Sue Broyles, Cecil Sharp, Jon Tyson, John Sadler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


The current doctrine of informed consent in medical practice may require the provision of more information than is understandable or desired by some parents. We conducted an exploratory trial comparing: (1) detailed risk/benefit disclosure provided both verbally and in writing and (2) flexible disclosure consisting of a brief verbal description supplemented with detailed verbal and written disclosure if desired by the mother. Information about mechanical ventilation was presented to 26 mothers of newborns at risk for respiratory failure. Of the 13 mothers in the flexible disclosure group, seven (54%) desired only brief verbal disclosure. Despite poor recall of information, most mothers were satisfied with the information provided. There was no evidence that the detailed disclosure group had greater maternal satisfaction or less maternal anxiety. Flexible disclosure as evaluated in this study had no important disadvantages relative to detailed disclosure. Methods of providing information to better meet the wants and needs of parents deserve further study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)67-75
Number of pages9
JournalEarly Human Development
Issue number1
StatePublished - Nov 1992


  • disclosure
  • informed consent
  • mechanical ventilation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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