Informed consent: An Israeli bone marrow transplant unit's perspective


Mirah Goldberg, Bone Marrow Transplant Department, Hadassah Medical Centre, Jerusalem, Israel.


Israeli bone marrow transplant (BMT) patients are drawn from a heterogenous population of Israeli Jews, Israeli Arabs and patients from outside Israel. This presents difficulties in communicating the ethical dilemmas that surround the BMT procedure to the patients and their families. Among these dilemmas is the issue of informed consent. A pilot study was conducted to assess the current informed consent practices in an Israeli BMT Unit. The sample consisted of 13 Hebrew speaking patients. The purpose of the study was to evaluate BMT patients: (i) information seeking behaviour; (ii) preferences for participation in treatment decisions; and (iii) attitudes and behaviours towards the current informed consent document. The study found that patients did not read the informed consent form. Of the nine patients who read it, three considered it superfluous and seven signed it almost immediately after reading it. Surprisingly, the results also showed that, despite the greater degree of risk associated with BMT treatment, the information seeking behaviour scores of BMT patients were similar to those of cancer patients receiving oncology treatment on an ambulatory basis.