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Too much information

Community Veteran
Posts: 7,910
Thanks: 591
Fixes: 8
Registered: 02-08-2007

Too much information

Years ago people went to the Doctor , if hospital treatment was required they were seen by the consultant who usually told them very little prior to undergoing treatment.
Today things could not be more different most Doctors and consultants will give you the finest details about what needs to be done and most patients would be in full agreement with that, however a relative went into hospital for a minor back operation on a disk and joined a group of patients  having similar operations where the group was given full information in simple terms about  how the operation would be carried out, so far so good but the following information was also given, 70% would get a good level of benefit from the operation,25% would get no benefit from the operation and the remainder may  have a slight increase in the pain they already have, due to this operation being near the spinal cord there was a slight risk, one in ten thousand that the operation could result in paralysis, also a one in ten thousand risk the operation could result in death, similar statistics were also added.
I wonder if these final statistical data should be given to patients, also why is it given ? Could it be more about protecting the hospital if things go wrong as you need to give written approval that you agree to the operation and have been fully informed about the procedure?
I am all for people being given appropriate information but details mentioned above might put some sensitive individuals from having the operation
6 REPLIES
nanotm
Pro
Posts: 5,671
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Registered: 11-02-2013

Re: Too much information

I've had many consent forms given to me over the years for various medical procedures and all of them have held the statistics about the likely hood of something going wrong and just how bad it could be, i'll be honest and say it never changed me giving consent, and actually being informed beforehand and made aware of the possible problems did determine how I viewed things after the fact, my last major operation there was a 20% chance of success which at the time I viewed as acceptable even with the associated risks, I got lucky and for a short time I had relief that subsequently degenerated into being slightly worse than before the op, if I had the same information today and knowing everything that happened before I would still of made the decision to go ahead with it.
similarly when I had my discs played with ending up wheelchair bound was well worth the chance at being fixed (I wasn't far off being there to start with) as it turned out I gained nothing from the procedure(s) but I also didn't loose anything and if thye were to offer me the same procedure again I would still take the chance even though the risks are greatly increased.
just because your paranoid doesn't mean they aren't out to get you
Community Veteran
Posts: 18,544
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Registered: 12-08-2007

Re: Too much information

Quote from: gleneagles
I wonder if these final statistical data should be given to patients, also why is it given ? Could it be more about protecting the hospital if things go wrong as you need to give written approval that you agree to the operation and have been fully informed about the procedure?

You are, to a degree it protects the consultant and hospital against being accused of performing a procedure without explaining the downside.
Kremmen
Rising Star
Posts: 496
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Registered: 13-04-2013

Re: Too much information

When my wife had major spinal surgery a few years ago and didn't make it due to a pulmonary embolism during the op, one of the first questions asked at the inquest was whether the risks had been explained.
From that I have to assume it's now a requirement.
Let's be careful out there !
Community Veteran
Posts: 18,544
Thanks: 190
Registered: 12-08-2007

Re: Too much information

In my case I'd want the information. If it wasn't given to me I would certainly ask a lot of questions. I like to know the risks Wink
Community Veteran
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Registered: 27-05-2011

Re: Too much information

Having various maths qualifications I like the way they gave me probabilities as part of the preparation for my recent hip replacement.  A lot of the body of knowledge in statistics has been developed for and by the medical profession but only recently have they started presenting such data to patients. For whatever reason much to be applauded IMHO  Smiley
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Registered: 06-04-2007

Re: Too much information

I agree that having too much information may put people off but I'd prefer to be given as much info as possible to make an informed decision. The alternative could lead to the patient searching the internet and getting misinformation or further confusion.
There must be instances whereby the patient may not be capable of comprehending the information due to mental health issues or learning difficulties. In these instances I assume a family member/friend would be advised if possible.

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