You have a right to obtain any legal medical treatment and the right to refuse any treatment. To be an educated consumer:
It is advisable to choose a treatment by first learning about::
- Your medical condition
- The pros and cons of the treatment
- Alternatives to the treatment
- What you will have to pay out-of-pocket
- How to spot phony or fraudulent treatments. To learn how, click here.
- For more information about choosing a treatment, click here.
If possible, review the medical consent form before agreeing to a treatment. Consent forms are not just a legal necessity. One of the main reasons they are required is to be sure you are aware of important information you may not otherwise be aware of. Before signing the form, make any necessary changes and initial them.
It is natural to have fear of a treatment just as it is to feel fear any time we venture into the uknown.
- Experience indicates that fear of a treatment can be substantially reduced by having enough information to give "informed consent." Informed consent is when you have information about your health condition, the nature and purpose of the treatment, the pros and cons including risks,and the alternatives.
- To learn techniques for coping with:
Paying for treatment:
- If you have health insurance, it should pay for treatments. If the insurer balks at paying, appeal. The percentage of decisions reversed on appeal is high.
- If you don't have health insurance:
- If you have to pay, find out the cost of the treatment and the tests and medications and other medical expense that go with it.
- Keep in mind that you can negotiate price and payment terms.
- If money isn't available, look for a free source of getting the treatment
- To learn more, see: Uninsured.
- Thanks to the Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare") you can get health insurance despite your medical history -- although it likely won't pay for the treatment which has already been recommended. To learn more, click here.
If the treatment requires you to take an action, comply with the protocol.
- Consider creating a system or using an aide to help you comply with your treatment. Compliance aides are available. Not complying with your treatment may actually cause you harm.
- Think of the food you eat, exercise etc. as part of your treatment. Do not just rely on medical care. For information about wellness, click here.
- If you have a religious holiday on which you normally fast while you are undergoing treatment, check with your doctor whether it would be injurious to your health to fast. The world's great religions permit eating when fasting would be injurious to your health.
If you experience side effects that are difficult to live with, speak with your doctor. There are generally techniques or drugs that lessen the impact of side effects, or eliminate them all together.
With respect to refusing to take a treatment or to stop treatment:
- You have the right to refuse or discontinue a particular treatment or even all treatment that is aimed at curing your disease.
- Even if you stop treatment about your disease, you can still receive pain medications and treatment to reduce symptoms. This is known as Palliative Care. There are even doctors who specialize in Palliative Care to whom you can be referred. (Yes, health insurance does cover palliative care).
Keep in mind that if you become incapacitated and unable to speak for yourself, you can still be in control of what treatments you do or do not want by executing simple documents known together as Advance Healthcare Directives. Advance Healthcare Directives include: