Informed Consent

In Connecticut there is a debate over chiropractic and the topic of informed consent.  (News Article) The debate is not over whether there should be informed consent.  In fact, in the United States, informed consent is already mandatory for all health care providers.  Informed consent is supported by chiropractors.  It is in the best interest of our patients .  No!  This debate is over whether chiropractors should be forced to inform every patient of a risk of stroke.

There are many problems with this.

CAUTION: there are risks to drinking water!

The most obvious is that chiropractic is not known to cause stroke.  The only evidence even remotely related does not show that it causes stroke, but that there is an association.  The same association that exists with medical doctors (oh, and hair dressers).  So if it’s not known to cause it why would you force chiropractors to inform people of the risk.  I think I know the reason.

If it is required for chiropractors then it should also be required of all health care practitioners that have equivalent risks. Can you imagine walking into every doctor’s office and having to sign a paper that says that if you came to that office to see them for neck, head or upper back pain there is a possibility you could have a stroke after seeing this doctor. Either no one would go to doctors for those conditions or it would become so prevalent that the warning would become like the boy who cried wolf, useless.

Another problem is the actual risk level that we are talking about. The risk of having a stroke after seeing a chiropractor is somewhere in the region of 30-300 times less likely than you dying in a lightning strike.  Should I have to also warn my patients that they may aspirate  and die from that water I recommended they drink.

Defining what must be included in informed consent adds loopholes for dishonest people and destroys the purpose of informed consent, that of an honest and open conversation between a doctor and a patient.  Please doctors share the likely and serious risks with your patients.  Inform them, by all means.  Don’t get ridiculous.

4 thoughts on “Informed Consent

  1. Amalaki Juice

    I will have to agree that this informed consent form is another step in the wrong direction. It’s kind of like adding a warning that says “The liquid in this container may be extremely hot. Don’t spill it on yourself!” American culture has become such a joke when it comes to common sense (actually, the lack thereof). I hope this blows by the wayside…for everyones sake.

  2. Provo Chiropractic

    I think there is an inherit risk no matter what type of doctor you see. Chiropractic care is no exception, but by telling patients about the risk of stroke will only be detrimental to the care a client would receive. I agree with the previous comment, it’s a step in the wrong direction.

  3. John Ramsey

    The only thing stated in this post that I would disagree with is the assertion that if you received a warning that you could suffer a stroke after going to the doctor’s office that people would then start to avoid going to the doctor all together.

    The fact of the matter, in my opinion, is that nowadays people are so used to hearing warning after warning with every medication, amusement park ride or trip to the store in their air-bag equipped vehicle (“children can be injured by airbags”, etc.) that I think they mostly tune them out. After all; how many people would be taking prescription drugs if they took seriously all the potential side-effects written in the fact sheet that accompanies them?



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