Excerpt on Patient's Rights from "Fearless Pregnancy...." 2nd Edition

When you come to see or consult a health professional it is most reasonable to expect that you will be given the best information based solely on the knowledge and experience of that practitioner. You have the right to expect the information to be discussed in a manner that you can understand. You should be educated about the diagnosis and presented with all options for treatment. Ideally, this information should be given to you free from the bias of the health professional providing it. Only in this way can you and your family make the decision that best suits you. This is called the right of self-determination and belongs to each of us as patients. Along with this right comes the responsibility to accept the outcomes of your decision.
The free flow of unbiased information between you and your caregiver is called “informed consent.” You have the right to know all the significant risks, benefits and treatment options for the problem you are confronted with. It is inappropriate for your practitioner to purposely leave out or skew this information in order to direct you toward the option he or she prefers. The best way to know your options is to do some of your own research on the Internet and come prepared with good questions when you sit down to talk to your caregiver. We at Fearless Pregnancy hope that you will take full advantage of your right to choose. Once you have been given this information it is perfectly appropriate to ask your expert caregiver what he or she might do in your particular situation. But remember, we each have different philosophies and experiences in life that make us unique.
Now that you have gathered and considered all the information and the recommendations proffered, you have the right to agree to those recommendation or choose a different path. The right to decline an offered treatment is called “informed refusal.” A common example: your doctor recommends you have a repeat c-section but you choose to try for a vaginal birth. Your wishes should be respected and you cannot be forced into a decision against your will. Realize that some caregivers may refuse to treat you if they are uncomfortable with your decision. As we say so often throughout this book, a good bond between patient and practitioner makes a world of difference. When you have this mutual respect, there is already existing common sense and trust that makes these situations very rare. It is important that each of us take responsibility for our own health and knowing your rights of informed consent and refusal is a big step in that direction.

Note: Hopeful release date of my book "Fearless Pregnancy...." 2nd edition is Spring 2010