Do you know about informed consent or refusal?
As women we naturally love to communicate, our brains are hard wired for it. But for some reason when we have a doctor standing in front of us, good looking or not........ Communication basically gets thrown out the window! Are you one that freezes or doesn't really know what to ask? Or do you feel you can ask them anything?
Remember your doctor or midwife is a person just like you or me. They may have been up all night delivering babies or just having a bad day. Ask them how they are. They aren't just the person who administer's exams, orders tests or manages your labor. Ideally, he or she should act as the guardian for you and your baby and be a partner in your care. After all, you really are in charge of your health day to day. You should feel like you can go to your doctor or midwife at any time and ask questions or talk about any concerns. This goes for any healthcare provider.
What is informed consent?
It is the process of communication between a patient and physician or midwife that results in the patient’s authorization or agreement to under go a specific medical intervention.
It is important for you to be able to make an INFORMED decision.
What information your physician or midwife must give you:
- The diagnosis if known.
- What the procedure is & how it is done.
- Why the procedure is being suggested.
- Whether it is new or experimental.
- What the recovery will be like.
- How the procedure or treatment will effect the baby.
- What are the alternatives.
- What are the benefits.
- What are the risks.
- If the procedure can be delayed so you can read up on it (prenatally) or think about it further (during labor).
- Whether it is being suggested for a particular reason or is it universally recommended.
Remember you can ask questions. You should walk out of their office feeling like you have been informed and can make an informed decision whether to consent or refuse a treatment.
Some common obstetric practices have been proven ineffective or even harmful but some doctors still use them for whatever reason.
It is very important for you to educate yourself and ASK QUESTIONS (for you and your baby).
What do I ask? Where do I begin?
Try to remember BRAINED to help you ask the right questions. Or you can keep a little cheat sheet in your wallet.
B - Benefit - What is the benefit of doing this?
R - Risk - What are the risks/ consequences?
A - Alternatives - What else can we do?
I - Intuition (conscious agreement) - Ask yourself - What is my mind, body, and soul telling me? What is your gut telling you?
N - Nothing or Not now - What if we waited an hour, what would happen if we did nothing?
E - Emergency? - Do we have time to talk about this?
D - Decision - You have to make a decision.
What if I decide to refuse?
This is called Informed REFUSAL. There are a lot of procedures you can refuse and you will sign a document saying you understand all the information and the consequences/ risks of refusing a procedure.
If a situation is a life or death situation for you or the baby, the doctor has the final say, no matter what!!! After all, he or she is the guardian for you and your baby. That's a good thing!
Knowledge is POWER, asking the right questions makes you in charge of your well being!
QUESTION: Did you know about informed consent? How do you think it will help you? I would love to hear from you so please share your thoughts in the comment section below.
If you find this information useful please feel free to share it with your friends and loved ones.