When we seek medical care, as patients we have the right to a full explanation and understanding of our medical conditions, and proposed testing/treatment. It is incumbent upon healthcare providers to provide adequate information in this regard, and to answer all questions posed by a patient. In fact, the standard of care requires that healthcare providers be responsive to patient inquiries. The provision of comprehensive information regarding the status of your health and tests/treatments being performed or proposed, can significantly improve your overall healthcare and help to make it safer. Even if your healthcare providers are intimidating and not readily amenable to answer your questions, it is important to make inquiries of your healthcare providers if you are uncertain about any issues surrounding your condition or treatment (and to makes notes of dates of conversations, and, if possible, to secure printed information regarding your condition, testing and treatment).
Why It’s Important to Be an Informed Patient
No matter how much you trust your doctor to proceed in your best interests, it is important to be informed sufficiently to enable you to make your own healthcare decisions, especially if significant options exist. There are no dumb questions that can be asked. Good communication is often the key to effective safe testing and treatment.
Questions to Ask Before Undergoing Medical Tests
It may seem like your doctor is always ordering tests to gather more information about your health, and it’s essential to know why, what those tests entail, and ultimately their results. In some cases, there may be no real benefit to undergoing certain tests, and there are instances where diagnostic studies can actually cause significant injuries. In the latter cases, the risk to benefit ratio needs to be considered before tests are consented to. The only way to ascertain that information is to speak frankly with your healthcare providers and be well informed.
Some general questions to ask include:
- Do I really need this test?
- What will it show about my condition?
- How is this test performed?
- Is there anything I need to do to prepare for the testing?
- Are there any potential side effects or inherent dangers of this type of testing?
- What are the chances of receiving inaccurate results?
- Are there any alternative options that will allow you to get the same information regarding my health issue in a less invasive manner?
Asking questions will show your doctor you are interested, invested in your health and will hopefully encourage them to speak openly and honestly with you about your medical care.
If you were not fully informed of the potential risks, consequences or hazards of proposed testing or treatment, and/or if you have suffered injuries that you suspect are related to medical negligence in or unnecessary/contraindicated testing or treatment, we encourage you to seek legal counsel. Our New Jersey medical malpractice lawyers at Blume Forte Fried Zerres & Molinari can evaluate the actions and inactions of your healthcare providers to determine if you may have a viable claim surrounding your injuries. Call us at (973) 635-540.3