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Do I have your Consent?

Submitted by on May 7, 2013 – 9:00 PM


When we are taught behavioral sciences, a lot of emphasis is given on the importance of taking consent from the patient before any examination and procedure. But how much of this theoretical knowledge is actually used in daily practice?

During my rotation in the eye O.P.D, one day I reached there before time. A girl sitting there with her white coat in her lap stared fixatedly at me and my friend and then out of nowhere she asked, “What is the number of your eyesight and is it the same for both eyes?”.

“Why should I tell you that? That is kind of private information”, I thought to myself.

“I don’t know “, I lied.

Anyhow my friend told hers. Such a random personal question offended me and I asked her  the reason why she wanted to know all that. Slightly offended I asked, “Why do you want to know this?”

“I have a research on myopia, that is why”, she replied.

Seriously?  That is what it was all about? If only she had approached us in a professional way, informed us about her agenda and asked for permission to ask questions; I might have cooperated. That way she would have left a better impression on us too.

That was a point.

Today, even in a developing country like Pakistan, patients have become inquisitive, insightful and curious with respect to their ailments and treatment options and therefore it is imperative for health care providers to satisfy every little query that a patient comes up with and to further discuss treatment plans in order to prescribe appropriate medications that have been agreed upon by the recipient. That goes for the patients who hail from a somewhat educated background. Those who are not literate also nurse insecurities and are apprehensive of the doctors because of language and comprehension barriers. It is a common observation in the O.P.D and wards. Even the illiterate patients need to know and understand their illnesses plus all the available treatment options for they have every right to do so.when I actually thought how important it is to apply in our practice, whatever we are taught.  If the patient is well informed and has the surety that everything will remain private, he will be more compliant and cooperative. The trust will strengthen and will have a good impression on the patient –doctor relationship as a whole. Hence ,the impression health care professionals have on the general public needs to be changed in light of this issue.

Working on merely the way you approach the patient will change the entire doctor-patient relationship and health-care can reach to new horizons once mutual trust has been developed.



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