Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Informed consent thoughts

I remember how annoyed I was at the informed consent procedure my oral surgeon was putting me through. I'd known for ten years that I wanted this surgery. Finally I was in a position to have it done. I wanted him to just go ahead and do it. But he kept dragging it out, giving me more information and insisting that I take time to think it over.

But it turned out that he was right to brave my impatience and irritation. In the end, I'd been forced to really think about the possible complications and what they'd mean to me. After "knowing" for ten years that I wanted this surgery, I ended up changing my mind, and I've never regretted that choice. A friend, on the other hand, decided to go ahead, and was just as satisfied with her decision.

So to say that some women find informed consent for abortion "condescending" ignores reality. You can think that you've made an informed choice when you've actually made a decision based on incomplete information. My oral surgeon, with all of his experience with happy and unhappy patients, went the extra mile to make sure that his patients really knew what they were getting into. It's about time the people doing abortions started giving their patients the same care and consideration that oral surgeon gave me.

Here are some thoughts on what real informed consent might look like. Feedback?

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