What is a Patient’s Right to Know?

This story has a lot of back and forth and is, frankly rather confusing. At least it is to me.  “Patients’ right-to-know at heart of Wisconsin debate:  Bill would ease doctors’ obligation to describe alternative diagnoses, tests”  http://www.jsonline.com/business/patients-righttoknow-at-heart-of-wisconsin-debate-gu9lf25-205036331.html

But what I glean from it leaves me feeling a bit queasy.

So, if I understand this correctly, if this proposed bill becomes law, I can go to a hospital ER with stroke-like symptoms and instead of the doctor ordering a low-cost non-invasive test that could have either confirmed or ruled out that I was having a stroke, the doctor ordered another test and come up with a different diagnosis — only to suffer a stroke that the inexpensive test might have predicted, and not only will the doctor have had no obligation to tell me that I could have that diagnostic test, but I will have no recourse. I will just have to live with the resulting debilitating disability — and accompanying suffering and horrendous medical bills — none of which had to happen.

This observation by a law professor who is quoted in this story, pretty much sums it up for me.

“Informed consent should be what the patient wants to know – not what a physician thinks the patient should be told”

I sure would like to know what readers of this blog think and hope you will weigh in.

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