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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.







Green Living Guest Posts Healthy Living Kids & Family Toxin Alert!

Drugs: Our First Line of Defense?


I’m so glad to have such a timely post to share with all of my readers. It seems like more and more I have conversations with people about using natural means versus drugs and over-the-counter medication for health problems.

It is my most sincere hope to inspire some interest in using natural remedies instead of automatically going to pharmaceutical intervention. Of course, drugs have their place in the world. But in modern society, we’ve come to rely far too much on taking a drug for every little issue that ails us, instead of looking at the root cause of the problem and finding out if we can solve it by re-hydrating, reducing stress, or repleting our diets with nutrients we may be lacking.

I’d like to thank Kate at Modern Alternative Mama for volunteering to write a post for me in the middle of my chaos – lately I’ve been having my own health issues which I am attempting to address naturally – low thyroid and a magnesium deficiency – which has caused many nights of insomnia and panic attacks. Needless to say, my life has been turned upside down and things haven’t been getting done!  Fortunately, things are SLOWLY starting to get better, and I’ll be writing a post or two about my experience when I get caught back up from being behind for the last four weeks.

In the meantime, I hope you enjoy this well-written and thoughtful piece about approaching health in the most natural way possible, first…before turning to drugs. Great food for thought.   :)


I see far too many people popping pills all the time. Have a headache? Grab some Tylenol! Cramps? Midol! A fever? Ibuprofen! And so it goes. There’s a pill for everything. Even new parents are sucked in – “You’d better have some Tylenol in the house, just in case.” But is this really the best first defense against illness or unpleasant symptoms?

Unfortunately, no. The way we treat pills these days is as if there were no side effects, or very minimal side effects. The mainstream perception is that even when pills do cause side effects, it is normal and ‘worth it’ to combat whatever ails you. We have pills for allergies (Benadryl), pills for colds and coughs, pills for the flu, pills for cholesterol, pills for birth control, pills for erectile dysfunction, pills for migraines, and on it goes. The solution clearly is – “If something ails you, there’s a drug to fix that.”

These drugs are not without side effects, and these side effects need to be considered very carefully. We need to look at the short- and long-term side effects of any drug before agreeing to take it. There’s a time and place for drugs, typically (in my opinion) in life-or-death situations. But they’re simply not the harmless little pick-me-ups we’ve come to view them as. Tylenol, for example, seen as one of the most “basic” drugs out there, is the leading cause of liver failure in the U.S. That’s far from harmless!

Even more importantly, instead of focusing so heavily on our individual symptoms (and what drug might fix that!), we need to look for underlying causes of illness. Why do you have a headache? Is it from tension? Dehydration? A food sensitivity? By knowing the cause, you may be able to find the cure. Tension requires relaxation, perhaps a massage (from a willing husband or wife!), maybe a bit of lavender oil and a warm bath. Dehydration requires a drink of water! Food sensitivity probably can’t be “cured” immediately, but at least you’d know what not to do in the future.

When we turn to drugs, we forget to look for the underlying causes. Migraines are often triggered by food sensitivities, like MSG, theobromine (found most often in cocoa), or caffeine. High cholesterol may be caused by a diet high in refined carbohydrates (not saturated fat!). Coughs and colds are an unfortunate fact of life for many, but if we boost the immune system with nourishing foods and fermented cod liver oil, we may see fewer of them, lower severity, and less duration!

When something ails us, we need to look at our bodies and our lifestyles as a whole. What could we be doing that is causing the problem? Are we not getting enough rest? Are we deficient in some key nutrient? Is our thyroid malfunctioning or our adrenals taxed? There is some reason for the symptoms, and the underlying cause will tell you what to do about it!

We miss the underlying cause when we focus on the symptoms. When we throw drugs at the symptoms, we may feel better (at least temporarily), but we don’t solve the problem. The problem is still there, and is probably getting worse. If you’re having restless legs but choose to take the new “RLS” drug, you’re very likely missing an underlying magnesium deficiency! Your symptoms will
only get worse, both because you’ve missed the deficiency, and because you’ve added any side effects that the RLS drug causes. This is how it goes with many situations, when drugs become the first answer.

When it comes down to it, would you rather suffer a bit more temporarily, while you actually solve the problem, or would you rather have immediate relief of your symptoms while your health crumbles around you? I can assure you that putting your health back together after 20 years or so of doing it wrong is no easy task. We’re in the middle of the GAPS diet for my husband right now because
his health has been so destroyed by years of poor diet, undiagnosed food sensitivities, candida, and more. It’s a very long, slow, painful road. Could he just continue to take some drugs and hide the problems? Maybe. I’m honestly not sure at this point. (We did try that route a few years back, before we knew what we were doing. It didn’t help at all, and very likely made it worse.)

Finally, I’m not saying that when you feel poorly, especially with what you know is just a temporary illness (like a cold) that you should do nothing to feel better. There are many natural remedies that you can try. Ginger tea with lemon and honey is wonderful for a cold, helping to warm the body, clear  he sinuses, and soothe a sore throat. Rice-filled heating pads soothe sore spots. Arnica helps with body aches. These are all natural remedies that can help to soothe your acute aches and pains without dangerous side effects, nor masking underlying problems.

In a perfect world, we’d all be healthy all the time. We wouldn’t get sick or be in pain. But we don’t live in a perfect world and we’re bound to have bad days! Rather than multiplying the bad days by masking and ignoring our symptoms, we can work without bodies to discover the true causes and resolve them. By (almost!) always consuming an excellent, nutrient-dense diet, we can be healthier and feel well without drugs!


Kate blogs at Modern Alternative Mama and discusses nutrition, food, recipes, natural remedies and more. She is a wife and mother of two. Kate currently home is just beginning to home school her oldest child, is active in her church, and enjoys sewing, crafts, and cooking.

More reading!

Is reactive medicine cheaper than prevention?

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

How I cured a raging sinus infection naturally, with no drugs

Prescription drugs, healing, and the almighty dollar