Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Informed Consent - the Dark Heart of Conventional Medicine

"Doctors are deliberately withholding information about the dangers of some routine screening and clinical procedures - often because they fear patients would then refuse treatment".

So begins a Special Report on 'Informed Consent' in the magazine 'What Doctors Don't Tell You' (WDDTY), May 2012. The report discusses the information patients are given about their treatment, and raises the important question:

Are patients giving their true, informed consent to medical treatment?

          "Although it happens every day in surgeries and hospitals, the failure to inform is against the law and a breach of human rights legislation - which gives the patient the absolute right of autonomy over his or her body. It also leaves the doctor open to a legal challenge of negligence, assault and battering, and possibly even manslaughter if the drug or procedure goes wrong"

Given the dangers of Conventional Medical treatments, not least through Big Pharma vaccines and drugs, this is important information that every citizen should know. The report goes over all the reasons doctors give for NOT telling us the information, all of which are illegitimate; it insists that patients have the right to know, and that if they don't, they cannot make an 'informed choice' about their treatment.

The information being withheld from us is legion, and the report mentions just a few of these:

* CT Scans cause cancer through radiation in 1 in 270 people screened by them.

* 5.7% if patients undergoing surgery for ulcerative colitis will die.
* Bronchoscopy (when a tube is threaded down the nose) results in a death with every 2,500 procedures.

As the report states, not many patients know this kind of information, largely because not many doctors are prepared to give the information to their patients.

          "Even after the Vioxx drug scandal had become public - eventually, tyne manufacturer agreed to pay out $4.85 billion to the families of around 50,000 people who died while taking the painkiller - doctors were still asking, 'What should we tell our patients?'"

The answer is probably simple! The truth! But as the report goes on to describe, medical paternalism is rife within Conventional Medicine (it is very different in homeopathy and other alternative medical therapies), and so patients are rarely told about the dangers of the treatment they are 'offered'. The report suggests that patients should ask the following questions before agreeing to take any prescription drugs:

1. How long has the drug been on the market (if less than 2 years ask for an 'older generation' drug)?

2. Can you confirm I am not taking part in a drug trial?

3. Is the drug suitable for my age/gender/condition?

4. Are you using this drug 'off-label' or for the condition for which it was originally licensed?

5. Are there any special warning or 'black-box' alerts for this drug?

6. Can you explain to me the known side-effects and the likelihood of me suffering them?

7. Has the drug been tested among people similar to my own age/gender?

8. Do you know if the drug has been banned from use in other countries? (Note, many drugs prescribed in this country have been banned in other countries)

9. Have you given this drug to other patients? If so, have they reported any adverse reactions?

10. Is the dose you are recommending within the guidelines of the manufacturer for my age/ gender/ condition?

11. Do you know if the new drug will react with other drugs I am currently taking?

12. If I start to suffer from health problems when I take the drug, I shall stop immediately, and come to see you again. Do you agree this is the best course of action?

However, the report goes on to question how many of these questions the average doctor is actually able to answer. In other words, it questions how well informed doctors are about the drugs they prescribe to us, and how reliant they are on Big Pharma information.

The report goes on to consider, in some detail, what informed consent should consist off, and asks another set of questions, with the guidance - don't give your 'informed consent' to treatment or procedures without the answers to each of the questions. One of these questions is:

           "Are there alternatives of which you are aware that could also be considered?"

The report states that it is highly unlikely that most doctors will recommend the patient to try homeopathy as a reasonable alternative, or indeed, any other form of alternative medical therapy! The reason for this, of course, is that most doctors will not be qualified to pass any judgement on this question. Indeed, many of them are known to consider homeopathy to be akin to witchcraft!

* Even 'alternative' advice on diet and nutrition may be a stretch too far for the doctor. Medical students in the US receive around 19 hours of education about nutrition during their five-year medical training".

As the report says, informed consent for the patient infers that the doctor is 'informed' and able to pass on the required information.

          "Informed consent infers that the doctor is informed ... not only is this far from the truth, it is also untrue even for specialists".

So an informed doctor, capable of answering important questions for you, is certainly not something that can, or should be automatically inferred! Certainly, the vast majority of doctors are informed only about conventional medical practice. And even within this single medical discipline, they appear to work on the information provided to them by the Big Pharma drug companies, and other ConMed companies and commercial interests. Little wonder, then, that they have only a limited knowledge about the dangers of pharmaceutical drugs, and other treatments and procedures!

However, the problem of getting informed consent is probably even more difficult than the report suggests. The NHS is (virtually) a ConMed monopoly, and as an organisation it is equally unlikely to answer the kind of questions the report recommends that we ask. Successive governments have failed to challenge the Conventional Medical Establishment, and appear more interested in funding and supporting it than asking serious questions about its efficacy and safety. And the mainstream Media is entirely supine in matters relating to health - parroting the 'good' news of conventional 'medical breakthroughs' tomorrow - and ignoring the conventional medical disasters of both yesterday and today.

So no-one appears to be asking the questions, or undertaking the investigations, that might lead us all towards a greater understanding and awareness of the problems associated with the conventional health treatments we are routinely offered today.

I would encourage everyone to read WDDTY on a regular basis. It is a magazine which is full of information about conventional medical treatment, and about alternatives to it. And it really does include material that 'doctors don't tell you', so it can lead to you, at least, becoming more aware of health issues, and therefore capable of making an informed choice.