Ask the Right Questions Before You Undergo a Medical Procedure

March 18, 2014

When you go shopping to buy a car, television or appliance you will ask many questions about the way the product works and its reliability. You will also go to the internet and looks for products reports by consumers as well as seeking out the best price.

When you are making decisions about surgery or treatment of a medical condition one must also conduct an in-depth analysis of what is the right procedure for you given your condition. We know this does not always happen. This can lead to tragic results. Unlike prescription medication and medical devises, surgical techniques go not go through rigorous evaluations of their safety and efficacy.

A recent column in the New York Times tells the tragic story of a young physician who underwent a procedure to remove uterine fibroids in the least invasive and less disruptive means. Unfortunately, the procedure that was performed permitted an undiagnosed malignancy to spread through her abdomen and she now has a Stage IV cancer. This physician, along with her husband (also a physician) is waging a battle to stop the procedure that was performed.

A patient needs to be well-informed. Don’t be afraid to ask the difficult questions. Do not agree to the procedure until you know all the benefits and risks.

Here are some questions to be asked:

  • Why do I need this medical procedure?
  • What are the alternatives to the medical procedure?
  • What are the risks of the medical procedure?
  • How long has this medical procedure been performed?

A well-informed patient makes for a good Doctor-Patient relationship.