An emphasized topic during the Case of Michael Skolnik Video revolved around informed consent. I appreciated our conversations around this topic and couldn’t help but think of a good friend and an issue she encountered in her health care recently. She had been having intense lower abdominal pain for months that had gradually worsened. She recently moved to a new state and hadn’t gotten a new physician yet but eventually sought one out for her pain. When the imaging results were in it was discovered she had multiple ovarian “masses”, one of them the size of a melon. The physician walked in, dropped the diagnosis on her, and then told her she would need to have both of her ovaries removed. He told her that was the standard of care for dealing with this and wanted to move forward with scheduling surgery.
Luckily she is an educated, intelligent person and made the decision on to leave his office to seek other medical opinions. I am happy to tell you that last week she completed the last of her surgeries to have all the masses removed and both her ovaries are intact and functional.
While I am so relieved for my friend it is concerning to think about others who could have been in that position, a young woman alone trying to make that decision while processing what she had just been told. What if she had just trusted the doctor’s opinion? What if she had not sought a second opinion? What if she hadn’t had a support system to reach out to to help her get that second opinion? She most likely would have had the surgery and never been able to had children.
It’s really scary to think about physicians out there currently, still practicing, not keeping up with the literature and giving patients their best odds. Just doing things how they have always done them. It really made me think about conversations around informed consent and shared decision making and how I need to make sure in the future, as a practicing physician, I keep up with medical literature and I am able to provide patients with all of their options during shared decision making discussions.