Close X
Get more out of WDDTY.com
by joining the site for free
Free 17-point plan to great health
Twice weekly e-news bulletins
Access to our News, Forums and Blogs
Sign up for free and claim your
17-point plan to great health
Free 17-point plan to great health

Twice weekly e-news bulletins

Access to our News, Forums and Blogs
OR

If you want to read our in-depth research articles or
have our amazing magazine delivered to your home
each month, then you have to pay.


Click here if you're interested
Helping you make better health choices

In shops now or delivered to your home from only £3.50 an issue!

Subscribe!

The consent that is never sought

CommunityBlogsBryan Hubbard2012MayThe consent that is never sought

Search

About

Bryan Hubbard is Publisher and co-editor of WDDTY. He is a former Financial Times journalist. He is a Philosophy graduate of London University. Bryan is also the author of several books, including The Untrue Story of You and Secrets of the Drugs Industry.

Archive

2016

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

The consent that is never sought

May 2nd 2012, 15:06
9,925 views

Aside from death and taxes, life's only other certainty is that you have a body, over which you have complete sovereignty and which is protected by law, including human rights legislation. If somebody attacks you, the assailant will be prosecuted and punished - indeed, any action on your body carried out without your full consent is a criminal offence.

The only people who seem to disregard this absolute right are doctors, as our Special Report this month explores (http://www.wddty.com/the-dark-heart-of-medicine.html). They pay lip service to the legal concept of consent, especially before surgery and other interventions, but their requirement is nothing more than a signature at the end of a long document, almost never read by the patient.

However, the doctor has to negotiate two hurdles before any procedure can begin: not only must he seek consent, that consent has to be fully informed. In other words, the patient should understand why the procedure is needed, its success rate, its risks - no matter how small - and any alternatives.

Of course, true informed consent rarely happens. The doctor argues that he doesn't have time to go into enormous detail with every patient, and some patients feel they shouldn't bother the doctor who always seems to be too busy. Some doctors still hold to the paternalistic belief that they know best, and that talk of risks would only worry the patient unnecessarily. Unless the risk becomes an actuality, of course, but by then it's too late.

Doctors sometimes don't bother seeking consent of any kind, informed or not. The most routine practice by any doctor is the writing out of a prescription - but he almost never points out the drug's risks or success rate.

Radiologists don't even bother with any pretence of consent. As a medical screening is part of an investigative process, usually requested by another doctor, the radiologist perhaps believes that consent is not required. Yet each screening subjects the patient to some level of radiation, and, in the case of a CT (computed tomography) scan, that can be similar to levels monitored at Hiroshima when the A-bomb was dropped.

If doctors did follow their legal requirement to achieve truly informed consent, most surgical procedures would never happen, and some patients would seek out safer alternatives if they were told the real risks of prescription drugs.

Doctors know this, of course. That's why they don't tell.

Latest Tweet

About

Since 1989, WDDTY has provided thousands of resources on how to beat asthma, arthritis, depression and many other chronic conditions.

Start by looking in our fully searchable database, active and friendly community forums and the latest health news.

Positive SSL Wildcard

Facebook Twitter

Most Popular Health Website of the Year 2014

© 2010 - 2016 WDDTY Publishing Ltd.
All Rights Reserved