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Informed Consent for Medical Treatment – What Are Your Rights?

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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.