In the case of informed consent, the physician is responsible for educating the patient on a variety of factors prior to administering any medical treatment. This requires telling the patient about his or her diagnoses, the proposed treatment plan, the desired effects of the treatment, the potential risks of the treatment, and even the consequences of denying treatment. To obtain informed consent, the patient usually signs a medical consent form. Informed consent is required in situations when a patient will undergo a major surgical procedure, a lengthy course of treatment, or even an ongoing treatment plan from a general practitioner who treats a chronic health issue.
In contrast, implied consent is generally discouraged in these kinds of situations. Implied consent means that consent is based on someone's actions or circumstances. For example, if a person calls for an ambulance to the scene of a car accident in which he or she was involved, if the patient requires emergency medical care, the EMTs who arrive on the scene will not obtain informed consent. Instead, they will rely on the patient's calling of the ambulance and dire need as evidence that consent is granted.