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Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Informed Consent = Much Better Healthcare For All

I spoke with a wise journalist who's been around the block for awhile and he said to me, "People have a short attention span. It's just that way. So, make sure you can express your idea succinctly, in five paragraphs or less...even better, focus on talking points."

I thought for a moment and replied, "It's the hook. We'll still reel the fish in with a long fishing line, but we have to set the hook. So, a talking point is just the beginning of the conversation. It's meant to catch their attention and, if it works, they'll begin to ask you for more information. And that’s where we’ll find the good the conversation.”

Tuesday, March 17th - Karen & March (and their children) head to Olympia to share ideas & proposals with Representatives, Senators, Advisors to the Governor and Officials at the WA State Dept. of Public Health in Tumwater. 

We have several goals, but one is to insert the concept and guarantee of "Informed Consent" into our state law. Why? Because, for the following reasons...this alone will immediately improve public health from the ground up, one patient at a time.

Ten Ways Informed Consent Benefits Us All

1.  With no consent, there is no reason to get informed. Public health benefits from an informed citizenry.

2.  Patient feedback is vitally important for the continual improvement of our medical knowledge. Patients are more inclined to give feedback about adverse reactions to drugs or interventions if they know they have alternative options. 

3.  Without informed consent, patients are less involved in their care and pay less attention to details. Doctors make mistakes in vaccine identification, timing and records. Involved patients are more likely to catch these errors before a harm occurs. 

4.  Consent creates a natural control group for scientific study. No human ethics board will approve a placebo study in which patients are given a placebo instead of an existing approved vaccine. However, it is perfectly ethical to study people who have voluntarily chosen to exempt themselves. This creates opportunities that can increase our understanding and benefit public health.

5.  Every serious vaccine injury scares many patients away from vaccines and traumatizes doctors. Minimizing these injuries is in everyone’s best interest. Informed consent leads to patients who are more likely to share pre-existing conditions & history before consenting to vaccination.  

6.  Doctors are being forced to spend less and less time with patients. Informed consent creates a legal mandate that pushes back against this trend, increases the time that doctors can spend with patients, and improves public health.

7.  Informed consent tends to allow people who are nervous about vaccines to become more confident about vaccines. Coercion, on the other hand, tends to increase anxiety and result in a backlash effect that reduces overall confidence in vaccines.

8.  Informed patients demand that vaccines meet their minimum standards. By doing so, patient choices create a market that supports higher quality vaccines.

9.  Informed patients are more likely to recognize early symptoms and seek diagnosis and testing which leads to earlier treatment and this is good for all.

10.  Informed patients have a better understanding of how vaccines work and don’t work. Over-confidence in vaccine efficacy can lead to carelessness in vaccinated individuals which is bad for public health. 

11.  And now it's your turn. Share with us a story of how Informed Consent improved your medical experience. If you've given birth, had any surgery (minor or major), if you've been prescribed a medication or have utilized any medical testing...your doctor was required to make sure you understood the options, the possible side effects, and other available alternatives...and your doctor waited while you decided whether or not to "consent" to one option or the other or wait and research it further before making your decision. Please consider sharing your experience!

1 comment:

  1. With so many people being rushed through the Dr's office these days...I have spoken to so many parents/patients that feel they are not given ample time to read through consent forms before signing. Its seems nurses and Physician assistants are under pressure to rush this the question becomes...if the Patients are not allowed time to read, or otherwise be informed of such things as side effects etc...what is the point? In order for a consent and information process to be effective... Things have to change drastically within our Doctor's offices and hospitals!


Welcome to the conversation. Knowledge changes. People respond best when this truism is kept in mind. In community, March & Karen