Think about this scenario…If I offered you $100,000 to jump out of a plane without a parachute, would you do it?
I bet most of you said “No!” But, what if I told you, the plane was on the ground?
Moral of the story: know all the facts before you make a decision.
Had you just asked a few questions your answer may have very well been “yes” and you would have been $100,000 richer. We ask our patients to jump out of an airplane every day. OK, not literally but we do ask patients to put their lives in our hands every single day.
Do patients really understand what we’re doing to them? Do patients ask all the questions they should to be fully informed? My guess, maybe.
It’s important that we explain tests and treatments to patients in a way they can understand. Our patients aren’t medical professionals, they don’t speak the same lingo we do. We have to explain things to them in terms that are easily understood by them and in a manner that provides them all the information they need to make an informed decision.
You are a medical professional so the next time you’re explaining something to a patient take a moment to ask yourself “if I were this patient what questions would I have”. Take a moment to suggest to the patient that they may want to ask a few questions to gain better understanding of the decision they’re about to make. Questions like; what are the risks of the test or procedure, what are the risks if I chose to not do anything, what are the alternatives.
The list of questions could go on and on, but you can never be too informed when someone asks you to jump out of an airplane!