As an adult, you have the right to make your own decisions about what happens to your body. You can decline medical care, even if it means you will have a worse prognosis later. You can also request certain treatments that better align with your personal values and religion.
Sometimes, patients ask for a second opinion or seek alternative treatments because the procedure or medication their doctor recommends is too dangerous or not effective enough. Patients obviously require accurate information to determine what treatment they should receive. What if your doctor doesn’t tell you the truth?
Doctors should strive to obtain informed consent
Although doctors don’t have to go into detail that their patients would not understand, they should provide adequate and accurate information about the likely outcome of treatment, as well as the most common side effects. If the treatment is experimental, patients should also know the current likelihood of success and the consequences if the treatment fails.
Doctors who do not provide their patients with the full details about their recommended care plan may push those patients into accepting needlessly risky treatments instead of the best option for their situation.
For example, if your doctor did not tell you about a side effect that has turned out to be common based on your internet searches or if they guaranteed success for a procedure with a 30% failure rate, then their misrepresentation might be a violation of your rights and a form of medical malpractice.
You could potentially bring a claim against the doctor’s malpractice insurance policy or sometimes even a civil lawsuit against the physician or their employer. Being able to identify medical malpractice when it happens to you is key to holding physicians accountable for their contributions to poor outcomes.