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End-of-Life Medicine: Enormous Lack of Informed Consent

Posted Feb 01 2013 12:00am

A few weeks ago I blogged about undisclosed risks of medical treatments . Undisclosed risks are common. They might be the norm. The situation would be even worse in some sense, much worse if doctors knew of these risks and failed to tell their patients. It was unclear if doctors knew of the undisclosed risks I wrote about.

Recently  quoted a newspaper story about Israeli doctors giving birth control injections to Ethiopian women immigrants ”without their knowledge or consent.” Every commenter thought this was repugnant.

The latest RadioLab podcast (“The Bitter End”) is about the dramatic difference between how doctors want to be treated when they are near death (they want no CPR, no ventilator, no dialysis, no surgery, no chemotherapy, no feeding tube, no antibiotics, nothing except pain medicine) and how the general public wants to be treated (most people want CPR, ventilator, dialysis, surgery, chemotherapy, feeding tube, antibiotics, and so on).

The RadioLab guys were puzzled by the difference.  

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