What your doctor must tell you about

THERE is no doubt patients have a right to be properly informed before consenting to any treatment, but what do your doctors actually have to tell you?

The days of 'doctor knows best' are long gone - patients are generally much better informed and more involved in decisions than ever before.

However, this doesn't mean that your doctor is obliged to discuss every single theoretical risk or complication with you.

Like the rest of us, they aren't held to a standard of perfection, but rather what is reasonable.

So what is considered reasonable?

A doctor must provide information about risks and outcomes to a patient that allows them to make an informed decision about undergoing the treatment, including any specific risks the patient wants to know about.

If you want to take legal action against a doctor you have to prove that if you were warned of a particular outcome or risk you would have decided against the procedure.

It is good to inform yourself and research your treatments but, as always, be careful about where you are getting your information.

You can search for your doctor's name on the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) website - which lists medical professionals and their accreditation, including any adverse findings against them.

It's also critical to read the documents you are given, whether that's a pamphlet from your doctor or an information sheet in in your medication.

If you are worried about a particular risk or the possibility of a certain outcome, raise it with your doctor.



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