I had been delaying this visit for awhile now in hope that whatever was growing under my tongue would heal itself.' I'd already exhausted visits with a dentist and a physician assistant, but an oral surgeon just sounded so intense for what I presumed was not that big of a deal.
As I offered a courteous hello and my name, the receptionist kindly responded with a 'how are you?' as she passed a clipboard loaded with paperwork over the counter.
The usual suspects were there, including registration and insurance forms and a copy of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).' But, the very last paper was a curveball: a consent form for any procedures performed.' How odd!' I just had walked into the office for the first time and I'm already giving my permission for the surgeon to perform whatever he deemed necessary.
I asked the receptionist if I could hold onto that form, explaining that I didn't even know what I was consenting to.' I wanted to spend more time than it takes to sign a credit card receipt to determine what next steps to take for my medical condition.
Whatever happened to consent as more of a process rather than sitting in a waiting room mindlessly signing another form buried in a stack of papers?' I cringed at the idea of people completing this form before ever seeing a doctor or a nurse, possibly dismissing a detailed opportunity for valuable questions to be asked, treatment decisions to be negotiated, and medical explanations to be provided.
I envision the consent process through my rose-colored glasses as how it was intended to be integrated into health care as stated by the American Medical Association ''as a process of communication between a patient and physician that results in the patient's authorization or agreement to undergo a specific medical intervention.'' My interaction with the front desk far from resembled this: no doctor, no communication and no specific interventions.
I did not have a bad encounter with the oral surgeon, but as I expected, he was interested in surgery, while I was interested in something less invasive than removing a salivary gland from my mouth forever for a blocked salivary duct.' I settled for an antibiotic and watchful waiting.' Two weeks later, my mouth was cleared of the growing mass under my tongue, but I was left with a bad aftertaste of that office's shoddy process of consent.
What are your informed consent stories?