Health Tips - Surgery and Informed Consent

 
Surgery and Informed Consent

Surgery is a business like any other. While many surgeries are life saving, probably 70% of them are unnecessary and dangerous. A surgeon is not going to disclose the risks and alternatives fully to you. First, they have not been fully trained in alternative methods of healing and nutrition. Second, surgery is how they make their living. They naturally have a bias toward it.

Before surgery can take place, you must sign an agreement that they are not responsible for your death or any other bad outcomes. In a gown in front of the door for surgery, there is no way for you to evaluate how likely those horrible outcomes are. You will not be given time to fully understand and discuss what you are signing. These forms protect the hospital and doctors from lawsuits; they do nothing for you.

Informed consent is a legal state in which a person has given consent based on a clear understanding of the future results of a procedure. Informed consent is supposed to be an actual process, whereby the patient and doctor sit down together to discuss the risks and benefits of, as well as alternatives to, the proposed treatment. This is unlikely to happen.

Because you are the person responsible for your body and what happens to it, you need to inform yourself of the risks of any surgery you are about to have! You should also find out any alternatives that exist for healing the situation that supposedly requires surgery. Surgery is not a conservative approach to health. It is drastic, invasive and dangerous. Use it with caution only after you have researched it and concluded that the potential benefits outweigh the risks!

Here are a few suggestions:

1. If there is no emergency involved, begin by Googling your condition and “natural cure”. Research and apply the data you find with care.

2. If alternatives do not exist or work for you, research the surgery and its risks and benefits.

3. Insist on sitting down with your surgeon to get all the data you need to make a decision. If you cannot do this all in one visit, schedule another.

4. Ask the surgeon for the consent forms in advance as part of your decision-making process.

5. If and when you are ready to sign, make sure the forms echo what the doctor told you and cross out any statements you disagree with. Keep a copy of the form.

In at least 70% of the cases, alternative solutions do exist!

See other tips in my hospitals series on how to make the most out of a hospital stay.

Best wishes,

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Dr. Pepi

 
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