Welcome to the Nexus of Ethics, Psychology, Morality, Philosophy and Health Care

Welcome to the nexus of ethics, psychology, morality, philosophy and health care

Monday, October 29, 2018

The dismantling of informed consent is a disaster

David Penner
KevinMD.com
Originally posted September 26, 2018

Informed consent is the cornerstone of medical ethics. And every physician must defend this sacred principle from every form of evil that would seek to dismantle, degrade and debase it. If informed consent is the sun, then privacy, confidentiality, dignity, and trust are planets that go around it. For without informed consent, the descent of health care into amorality is inevitable, and the doctor-patient relationship is doomed to ruination, oblivion, and despair. It is also important to acknowledge the fact that a lack of informed consent has become endemic to our health care system.

This betrayal of patient trust is inextricably linked to three violations: a rape of the body, a rape of the mind and a rape of the soul. The rape of the mind is anchored in a willful nondisclosure of common long-term side effects associated with powerful drugs, such as opioids and certain types of chemotherapy. When a patient starts a chemotherapy regimen, they are typically briefed by a nurse, who proceeds to educate them regarding common short-term side effects such as mouth sores, constipation, and nausea, while failing to mention any of the typical long-term side effects, such as cognitive difficulties and early menopause. It is the long-term side effects that underscore the tragedy of having to resort to chemotherapy, as they can have a devastating impact on a patient’s quality of life, even long after remission has been attained.

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