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What is informed consent?
How does it work?
Additionally, there is a critical concept you must understand to grasp the importance of informed consent:
Responsibility = Authority
If you are responsible for the outcome of a medical decision, then you also have authority to make that decision. For example, if you are responsible financially for the medical bills associated with a vaccine adverse reaction, then you have the authority to delay or decline that product. If you are responsible for lost wages because you cannot take a future booster after developing a contraindication to that product (such as anaphylaxis), then you have authority to delay or decline that product. Medical decisions without authority are not decisions, they are coercion. Medical coercion is not informed consent. The ability to delay or decline any or all medical products is required to have informed consent.
What isn’t informed consent?
Unfortunately, some healthcare professionals have been trained to direct patients or parents about products versus presenting options to discuss. For example, to increase vaccine acceptance, healthcare professionals are taught “Presumptive Delivery Strategy” which is detailed below in a CDC training:
From a patient’s point of view, this strategy does not support the informed consent process.
Note: if your healthcare provider is rushing the informed consent process, do not be afraid to find another provider. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), some providers have the below feelings about discussing vaccines with their patients:
It is impossible to gain proper informed consent within 20 minutes for every medical product a healthcare provider commonly recommends to patients + parents in a single appointment. If you do not feel properly informed, be empowered to schedule a follow up appointment to have all your questions answered. However, be aware per the CDC (page 20), “some healthcare providers have concerns that [patient-centered conversations] takes too long and that such a conversation is not billable.”
If your provider is worried about the above, that might be a sign to find a different one. Head to the next lesson on ways to find one in your area!