(NaturalNews) Many people are under the impression that patients in the U.S. have the right to decline treatment if they are mentally competent and aware of the consequences of such a refusal. However, that doesn’t seem to be the case if you visit certain hospitals. A construction worker who was hit in the head while on the job was taken to New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center where he received eight stitches above his left eyebrow. When a doctor informed him that he needed to have a rectal exam in order to ascertain whether or not he sustained a spinal injury, the patient flatly refused the treatment.
What happened next is scary. While hospital personnel tried to hold the patient down in order to administer the exam anyway, very much against the patient’s wishes, the patient accidentally hit a doctor while trying to break loose. Unfortunately, the hospital staff did not wish to take “no” for an answer, and the patient was drugged and later awoke with a tube in his throat and lubricant in his rectum, handcuffed to a bed. It seems doctors have the authority to decide to ignore the wishes of a patient if they feel the patient is incapable of making an informed decision.
While it might be reasonable to give doctors some latitude in these matters, the story doesn’t seem to make sense. If the patient was truly unable to make an informed decision about his medical care, why were misdemeanor assault charges filed against him for hitting the doctor? Surely a patient who was incapable of rational thought should not be held accountable if he were truly not thinking clearly and only acting out due to an injury? Curiously, they all thought he was thinking clearly enough to have him arrested for his actions but not clearly enough to have the right to informed consent concerning his care.
Just how necessary is a rectal exam when someone sustains a head injury, anyway? Clearly, not everyone who sustains a head injury and goes to an emergency room receives a rectal exam, and some medical professionals say that there are less invasive procedures that can be used to determine the neurological status of a patient. The patient in this case was quite responsive. He knew what exam the doctors wanted to do, and he knew why. His lawyer insists that things should’ve come to a halt the moment he said “no.”
What is most disturbing to health freedom advocates is that the patient did not prevail in his lawsuit against the hospital. Hopefully, his lawyers will file an appeal. If any neurological testing needs to be done, perhaps it would best be done on the jury members who apparently have butts where their brains should be.
About the author
Joanne Waldron is a computer scientist with a passion for writing and sharing health-related news and information with others. She runs the Naked Wellness: The Gentle Health Revolution forum, which is devoted to achieving radiant health, well-being, and longevity.
Monday, May 26, 2008
Source: Natural News