Consent lost in translation

‘Business Dilemmas’

Dr Sissy Frank

A doctor expresses concerns about consent issues when a son wants to act as an interpreter in the consultation for his mother. Dr Sissy Frank gives her advice





Dilemma 1 

Will she be able to give consent?  

Q A man has contacted me asking if I will treat his elderly mother privately because he is worried about the length of the NHS waiting list for cataract surgery. 

He explained that he would need to accompany her to the consultation and interpret because she speaks very little English. However, I am worried that it will still be difficult for her to understand all the risks and give her consent.