I like the idea of patient consent, but it wouldn't always be possible. I just got into a motorcycle a few months ago and had surgeries, chest tubes, intubations, and couldn't even breathe on my own for a bit. I wouldn't have been able to consent to any of this, but it was necessary to keep me alive.
I work a night shift in a hospital. If you've never worked one before, know that some nights you will be absolutely exhausted. I'm sure most night-shifters have fallen asleep at work before, if not on a regular basis. Doctors are not above this. Our hospitalists have on-call rooms to sleep in every night. If you code in a hospital overnight, chances aren't bad that one of the doctors that shows up was woken up by your code seconds before he showed up in your room.
My point is, hospitals are open 24/7. There is a night shift. Those people are usually tired. Also, emergencies happen 24/7. Sometimes patients can't consent to anything.
Imagine this: A patient shows up at 2am with an injury that would kill the patient before the morning shift came in. All the surgeons are asleep. You'd have to wake up an entire surgical team. All of them will be tired when they come in. The patient, however is unconscious. Bringing this patient back to alertness would risk their life and put them in so much pain they wouldn't be able to sign or agree to anything. What now? (
I think attention should be paid to organizations overworking clinical professionals, but it should be kept in mind that sometimes work that a patient may not even want to save their life has to be performed by people who are incredibly tired and just woke up just to keep the person alive. That's just how it is.
"It's what you learn after you know it all that counts." -- John Wooden