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Fixin' Healthcare

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Informed Consent

Informed consent can be a means to provide patients with crucial information about the potential risks and benefits of a medical care procedure or window dressing to provide comfort and cover. It turns out the study involving CT scans on 50,000 patients with lung cancer at numerous hospitals cannot locate ninety percent of the consent forms. The missing forms show the difficulty with quality control for a study of this size and scope. It calls into question other aspects of the study and perhaps the conclusions. But, hopefully, it will give pause to examine the basic cause and method of informed consent. At its best, informed consent would have origins in community health that emphasizes health literacy. If consent is truly informed, it becomes the most effective tool for addressing the excesses and abuses of medical care. Every aspect of medical care has risks and benefits. Whether one outweighs the other depends upon each individual situation and it is never an easy decision.

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