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Informed Consent for Medical Treatment – What Are Your Rights?

Over the last week I’ve been having some involved discussions with people about the topic of conventional medicine steamrolling the alternative sector of health. If you have a health issue and you seek help from a conventional doctor, what are the chances that you’ll be offered a full range of choices about your health condition?

By full range of choices, I’m referring to accurate facts and information about conventional treatment you’ll receive, as well as information about alternative treatments. I’m here to tell you that chance is almost zero. Doctors are liable for everything they say, and for the most part, you won’t receive encouragement or information about alternative treatments from conventional medical doctors.

Steve Jobs passed away last week, and the world has been talking about it ever since. Dr. Mercola, M.D. shared a very informative interview on his site with Dr. Nicholas Gonzalez, M.D. who has treated cancer patients successfully for the last 25 years with alternative therapies. Dr. Mercola and Dr. Gonzalez discuss the fact that Steve Jobs delved into alternative treatment, and was even recommended by his own acupuncturist to seek out Dr. Gonzalez’s help. Natural News talks about the life of secrecy maintained by Jobs and the fact that he received a liver transplant.

What rights do we have as consumers and patients? 

The American Medical Association claims to provide informed consent to patients.  But is this really happening to the full extent that it should in clinical settings?  By law, this ethical principle must be carried out in modern medical practice with medical interventions involving risk of injury or death. “Implicit in the concept of informed consent is the right to refuse consent or, in the case of vaccination laws, the right to exercise conscientious, personal belief or philosophical exemption to mandatory use of one or more vaccines.” (Source, National Vaccine Information Center).

By law, informed consent must be applied to every person who receives medical treatment and be informed of all possible risks and side-effects of any drug, surgery, or procedure. Just as Barbara Loe Fisher advocates for the recognition of patient and consumer rights  to be informed and educated about the ingredients and side-effects of vaccines through the National Vaccine Information Center, patients should be informed about all risks and side-effects (not just whatever the drug company is putting on the label) of treatments such as chemotherapy drugs and radiation. Even though informed consent is the law, these facts are often glossed over or omitted altogether. Patients should also be granted the choice to seek alternative therapies and treatments – without reproach, criticism, or dissuasion.

Current law states the following:

“To satisfy informed consent in biomedicine, physicians must disclose the nature of the problem, the purpose of the proposed treatment and the probability of its benefits and risks, as well as the probability of benefits and risks of alternative treatments or doing nothing. Whether such disclosure must, or should, encompass complementary and alternative modalities has not yet been addressed in the literature.”

- Source, Complimentary & Alternative Medicine Law Blog, Michael H. Cohen, Esq.  

It’s perfectly legal, however, for medical professionals to exert authority to use coercion, threats, and intimidation to influence patients into choosing treatments that are have a proven track record of being unsafe and risky, and even without fully explaining the consequences of such activities. This act has the effect of violating deep-seated beliefs patients may have. This is especially true where vaccines are concerned, and if patients or parents of children decide that vaccination in general – or more commonly, a particular vaccine –  is not necessary or appropriate for their children.

The role conventional medicine plays in health decisions

Although a lot of Steve Jobs’ personal activities were concealed, he was reported to have used alternative therapies during the early stages of his disease.  His acupuncturist urged him to see Dr. Gonzalez, and he chose not to. Somewhere along the way, his attitude was shifted and then his willingness to pursue alternative therapies diminished. I believe it was pressure from  powerful entities within the conventional medical community, which is the predominant force in the world in terms of getting medical treatment.

Billions of people will read Steve’s story and be influenced by him.  Many will still believe chemotherapy, radiation, and liver transplants are effective, even though he died. Some people might say to themselves, “Steve couldn’t beat cancer, so maybe I can’t either”.  But that’s not the attitude people should have.

You will also hear people who say that they or someone else they know survived chemotherapy and radiation treatment.  But even the statistics on chemotherapy show that the expected life span after receiving this treatment is about 5 years.  Those treatments aren’t solving the problem though. You can remove “the cancer” but you haven’t actually solved the reason for it being there.

I’m not implying we are capable of escaping death; sooner or later, we’ll all meet that fate. What it does mean is that while we are here, we have choices and options about our health. That’s what conventional medicine doesn’t give us.  It is built on fear, coercion, and threats, if those methodologies are not used. It gives credence only to anything involving surgery, drugs, or other conventional treatments.  The system thinks nothing of stealing people’s confidence in themselves…their own intuition of their own bodies and conscience…of respect, and of their own dignity of researching, deciding, and choosing for themselves.  And why? Because of the enormous profit to be made from selling drugs, expensive surgeries and other procedures.

Money and privilege are no guarantee you’ll have access to sound, reliable information from medical professionals who have your best interest at heart. Wealth doesn’t preclude anyone from making a bad decision…including anything influenced by conventional medicine. I believe this is what happened to Mr. Jobs. Even with all his money, he wasn’t impervious to this force, nor did he have the proper support he needed to continue with alternatives.

Alternatives in managing disease

Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, a revolutionary in treatment of chronic and fatal diseases believes that the body is resilient and can heal from anything. In her book, Dr. Lawrence Wilson, M.D.  Like Dr. Gonzalez, Dr. Wilson has worked with the late Dr. William Kelley, a pioneer in alternative cancer treatment.  Anyone can and should do these therapies singly or as a complete health care protocol.  However, if you have chronic or terminal health issues, I recommend obtaining guidance from a trained practitioner who has experience in detox, nutrition, and healing from disease.

I personally know and have worked for a nutritional consultant who uses this same protocol and is successful at healing late-stage cancer treatments. I’ve heard people say that chemo and radiation “works”, but from what I know about health, I know it doesn’t actually solve the cause of the cancer. That’s why cancer can return.  In order to destroy tumors, cancer drugs suppress and weaken the immune system. Dr. Gonzalez says that the drugs which kill tumors don’t help the body to successfully remove the toxins left over in the body, which cause a lot of damage and often that’s what ends up killing patients who don’t survive from chemotherapy and radiation treatments.

Like many others, the cancer industry keeps going because it’s a money-making machine. It uses propaganda and marketing to its advantage to get people to hold fund-raising events and donate billions upon billions each year.  The alternative cancer treatment industry is simply not making the kind of money generated in the conventional cancer industry.  This branch of health appeared as a result of frustration with the conventional system, and because people who needed help weren’t getting results they needed.  Alternative medicine’s methods of treatment and education are vastly different. Unlike conventional medicine, it is based on hope, faith, support, trust, due diligence, healing,  respect for the client, and prevention.

In the Dr. Gonzalez interview, he revealed after his death from pancreatic cancer some years ago, the wife of actor Michael Landon donated $38 million dollars to the oncologist that was treating her husband. Dr. Gonazlez also talks about other physicians who are decorated as heroes and given accolades by the press, even though their patients have died.  How crazy is this?  Properly used alternative treatments are safe and effective for cancer and other diseases, and save lives…and yet, they are shunned and criticized. Why? Because there is no profit in healing, only treating sickness. Even Steve Jobs couldn’t escape that reality – and maybe even more so because he had unlimited resources.

The blame for all of this certainly doesn’t rest on Steve Jobs; it’s obvious that even with all his influence and money, the mainstream medical camp won him over. Most ordinary people don’t have the resources he did, so it’s infinitely harder for us to counteract the effects of conventional medicine’s influence.  It is with a very heavy heart that I bid farewell to Mr. Jobs. What a truly terrible waste.  And, what a waste for so many others, who were and are deprived of confidence in their own ability to choose for themselves – a freedom of choice that is an inalienable right for human beings.

Remember – if you don’t have the right to stand up for yourself, someone else will. Do you want another person making that decision for you?

More information: 

Who’s right? Finding the truth about medical knowledge, science, health, and nutrition

Prevention – could this be an answer to our healthcare woes?

Want healthcare reform? Start with the food system!


This post is part of Real Food Forager’s Fat Tuesday Carnival.







Alternative Medicine Green Living Guest Posts Healthy Living Kids & Family Recipes

The Amazing Health Benefits of Ghee and Recipes

We’ve been using ghee in our house for a few years now, and I love its versatility and taste for so many of the things we eat. Ghee is an ancient food that has been eaten by people around the world for thousands of years, is extremely nutritious, and is also one of the greatest survival foods I can think of because it doesn’t have to be refrigerated.

This amazing food is a stable, saturated fat, and from my experience will keep on the counter or in your cupboard for up to several months; unopened, even longer. It also lasts longer refrigerated than butter. Ghee is clarified butter that has been cooked for a longer period of time to eliminate moisture. Traditionally, it has been used in Indian cooking for thousands of years, but now many people are discovering its wonderful taste, myriad of ways to use, and health benefits.

Like butter, ghee is a healthy saturated fat that contains fat-soluble vitamins and nutrients our bodies need. Along with Vitamins A, D, E, and K, critical to bone, brain, heart, and immune system function. Ghee is an abundant source of conjugated linoleic acid – an antioxidant which destroys free-radicals (cancer), immune booster, and a friend to cardiovascular health. It is also contains lauric acid – useful in fighting fungus and candida.

Today I am excited to share with you an excerpt from The Herbal Kitchen by Kami McBride. Ghee can be used in every way that you would use butter for cooking (even raw) and has unlimited uses and healing properties. Many thanks for this informative information, Kami!

Ghee is good for you! We substitute ghee for almost everything that butter would be used for. Ghee is butter that is heated in order to separate the water and milk solids from the butter fat. This process turns butter into a nutty flavored, healthy and nourishing food.

Ghee does not go rancid when you cook with it so it is one of the best oils to use for baking and sauteeing. This liquid gold is also a great food for people who are lactose intolerant. Since the milk solids have been removed, ghee is suitable for those who need a lactose free diet.

I love ghee, and just like every other medium in my kitchen, what do you think I do with it? Right! Add herbs. Ghee is a great delivery mechanism for the medicinal properties of herbs. Ghee carries the healing constituents of the plants deeper into the body, nourishing all tissues. It helps the body to absorb many healing qualities of the herbs while adding a wealth of variation and rich flavor to whatever you are eating. As my husband Michael says, anything tastes good with ghee on it .

Start making your own herbal ghee blends and soon the condiment aisle at the grocery store will pale in comparison to the creative flare of your home pantry

Herbal ghee: getting started


  • Unsalted organic butter
  • Dried powdered herbs
  • Minced fresh herbs
  • 10 inch by 8 inch glass Pyrex pan
  • Stainless steel pot
  • 3 sterilized Mason jars
  • Large glass measuring cup
  • 7 inch by 7 inch piece of muslin (2 pieces)
  • Large spoon
  • Butter- use organic unsalted, sweet butter. Use the freshest butter you can find
  • Dried herbs – dried herbs for ghee need to be finely powdered
  • Fresh herbs – when adding fresh herbs to ghee, you put moisture back into it along with other living plant substances. Now your ghee has a shorter shelf life than if it were plain or amended with dried herbs. Ghee mixed with fresh herbs needs to be refrigerated and treated like butter. The variation in water content in the herb along with the varying anti-bacterial qualities of each herb contribute to the difference in shelf life. Once I add fresh herbs to ghee, I like to use it within a week. Any ghee that contains fresh garlic needs to be used within a couple of days.

Another handy way to use fresh herbed ghee is to put it into ice cube trays and then freeze it. Once it is frozen, pop out the ghee chunks, put them in a jar with a lid on it and store them in the freezer. Whenever you need to add some life to your soup or beans, pull out a chunk of ghee and pop it in to your meal. Frozen herbed ghee lasts up to one year.

How to Make Herbal Ghee

  1. Heat oven to 275 degrees
  2. Unwrap 3 pounds of butter and put it in a glass Pyrex baking pan
  3. First the butter will melt, which takes about ½ hour. The timing on this step varies depending on if the butter came straight from the refrigerator or if it was at room temperature before you put it in the pan
  4. Once the butter melts, bits of white foam will begin to congeal on the top layer in the pan. You will notice three layers of things happening: white creamy milk solids on the bottom, the golden butter fat in the middle and the whey protein and moisture on the top
  5. Let cook for about another 30 minutes and the top layer of foam will crust together and completely cover the pan. You want as much of this to bubble up as possible, without letting it turn brown or burn. If at any time things start turning brown or burning, remove it from the oven.
  6. Once the white foam encrusts the top layer of the entire pan, if your oven allows for it, carefully reach your hand into the oven and use a spoon to scrape off the white layer
  7. Bake for another 15-20 minutes until another layer of white foam forms on the pan and then carefully remove the pan from the oven
  8. Scrape the remaining layer of white foam from off the top of the golden liquid. It makes good pet food
  9. Pour the pan contents into a large measuring cup or pitcher and then pour the liquid through a funnel lined with muslin into a sterilized glass jar
  10. Let the butter fat drip through the cloth, leaving behind undesirable solids in the muslin. Once all the liquid has dripped through the cloth (do not squeeze) then pour the liquid into a sauce pan
  11. Turn the stove on low, medium heat and cook the liquid for about 10-15 minutes
  12. The liquid will simmer and bubble, scoop the froth off the top and side of the pot with a spoon
  13. Stir the bottom of the pan to prevent anything sticking to the bottom of the pan. Anything that sticks will burn and give your ghee an undesirable burnt flavor
  14. After about 10-15 minutes the golden amber liquid will become clear and the frothing will almost stop
  15. Pour into a clean, dry measuring cup and then strain once again through a muslin lined funnel. Your ghee is ready!

I make ghee while I am doing other things in the kitchen. You need to keep an eye on what is happening so you can assess when it is time to move to the next step. Butter varies in its constituents and moisture content, so the timing for each step of ghee making will fluctuate. The above timing guidelines will vary.

Most resources for making ghee give directions to make the ghee in a sauce pan. I tried this for years, I burnt many batches of ghee and it drove my students nuts because there is about a 30 second window when the butter fat finally turns clear before the curdy sediments burn on the bottom. Baking the butter first clears out most of the white curds on the bottom of the pan that are the culprit of burnt ghee.

The process of making ghee removes the milk proteins and moisture making it a very stable substance. It can last for more than a year and does not need to be refrigerated. Ghee is stable for at least a year as long it is stored in an air tight container and moisture isn’t re-introduced by leaving the lid off or splashing food and liquids into it. When using ghee, make sure the utensils dipped into it are clean and dry.

Herbed ghee uses

  • Add to soups just before serving
  • Add to water while cooking rice and other grains
  • Baking ingredient
  • Condiment for popcorn, vegetable topping and dipping
  • Garnish for fish and vegetables
  • Lip balm for sunburned lips
  • Massage oil for feet and scalp
  • Moisturizer for entire body
  • Morning toast or breakfast food
  • Marinade for meat, fish and vegetables
  • Sautee for meat, fish, vegetables and grains
  • Substitute ghee for all butter uses
  • Take it by the spoonful

Ghee recipes with dried herbs

Baking ghee
2 cups ghee
½ cup powdered cinnamon
2 tablespoons powdered fennel
1 teaspoon powdered star anise
1 teaspoon powdered nutmeg
Add this ghee to your muffins, pancake mix, morning breads and toast.

Black pepper turmeric ghee
1 cup ghee
2 tablespoons powdered turmeric
1 tablespoon powdered black pepper
1 teaspoon powdered bay
Add this ghee to your rice and grains, refry beans in it and add it to any baked savory dish. This is a good winter cooking condiment as the combination of herbs are antibacterial and help dissolve pesky mucus.

Delicious spice ghee
1 cup ghee
1 tablespoon powdered coriander
1 tablespoon powdered cinnamon
1 teaspoon powdered cumin
½ teaspoon powdered clove
½ teaspoon powdered nutmeg
1 tablespoon powdered fennel

Happy nerves ghee
1 cup ghee
2 tablespoons powdered lemon balm
2 tablespoons powdered lavender
¼ cup powdered rose petals
½ cup honey

For more delicious herbal ghee recipes see Kami’s book, The Herbal Kitchen.

Kami McBride is the author of The Herbal Kitchen. For 24 years she has been teaching people to use herbs in their daily lives for health and wellness. Kami helps you to de-mystify the world of herbal medicine, and is fanatic about motivating people to use herbs in their gardening, cooking, skin care, stress reduction and caring for children’s home ailments. She is also a member of Yolo County Western Price Foundation, and lives with her husband and 6 year-old son in northern California, and loves helping people learn how to use herbs in the home setting for prevention.
Kami’s Facebook page

This post is part of Sarah The Healthy Home Economist’s Monday Mania Carnival.