On “Informed” Consent and Walking the Line by Natalie Kress #TPSER8

As day two neared a close, a spontaneous conversation amongst roommates touched on two topics relevant to our discussions today.

1.  “Informed” Consent

The goal of informed consent is simple: to provide the necessary information that allows the patient to reach a decision regarding his or her health.  Today we discussed the pitfalls that have led me to view the word informed in a different light.  From obtaining consent in less-than-ideal situations to forms filled with complicated jargon, it seems to me that the current consent process requires the patient to be vigilant.  In many ways it seems that the burden of responsibility to understand the decision-at-hand has been placed on the patient.  Is a system where the burden of responsibility is placed on the patient safe?

2.  Value in Walking the Line?

In various activities yesterday and today, the theme of self-evaluation has been prevalent.  We have been asked to self-evaluate our leadership and listening skills, to name a few.  One interesting tangent from these introspective activities was discussed informally this evening:  what is the value, as a medical professional, in walking the line?  Despite being told to set our personal biases aside when interacting with patients (which is much easier said than done), would it be beneficial to walk the line/ride the fence on certain issues?  Would this approach allow you as a caregiver to be flexible in understanding your patients?  On how many issues do you truly have the ability to understand both sides of the argument?  And how valued is this trait in medicine?