Several years ago my aunt got in a car crash. It was a fender bender, nothing serious. After the crash she started to have some problems with her vision which she had checked out. What they found was very concerning, her symptoms were a result of a very massive brain aneurysm. She was a doctor, her two brothers were doctors and her daughter was a doctor. They decided not to consult too many people and act quickly without panicking the family. They found the best neurosurgeon in the area who worked at UCLA. They went into the operation and she never came out. My uncle, her brother, had passed away in an almost identical fashion. Both of them had a genetic abnormality where the collateral circulation in their brain is different. In both cases the brain started bleeding and there wasn’t a back up vessel and both left their operations brain dead.
My father, her other brother, was extremely angry that she didn’t consult the family. There were other less invasive options available like coiling to clip the aneurysm, better? Who knows?
I couldn’t Help but the draw analogies between her story and Michael’s story. What if the informed consent process was different? Patients should be given background from a neutral third party. Someone who knows what the options are isn’t biased by making money on their particular procedure. Someone who isn’t biased and can give patients real expectations.