Stop medical gaslighting, ignorance of non-consent & wrongful alteration of documents.
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At a glance :
- Prioritise evidence based care. Introduce measures to prevent any doctor overriding a patient’s reported medical history, drug interactions, allergies or diagnoses - especially for rare conditions, disabilities or conditions that they have no expertise or specialist training in - without first conducting the appropriate testing, consulting or research.
- Respect a patient's non-consent, and give patients control over what is done to their body while they are under anaesthesia.
- Stop normalising the altering of a patient’s medical documents. Ensure that fraudulent alterations to medical records cannot be so easily disguised as being simply ‘not best practice’.
- STOP medical gaslighting.
Why should you sign this petition?
We as a society place our lives in the hands of medical professionals on a daily basis. We or our loved ones would all require medical advice or treatment at some point in our lives. Most people in this world would be putting their trust in doctors at one time or another, indiscriminate of race, age, gender or socioeconomic status. This is an issue that affects us all. Even doctors will become patients at some point.
Mistakes happen. But doctors need to be aware of the power they have. A bad day on the job for a doctor, could be the end of life as they know it for the patient.
More and more stories are emerging from around the world of medical blunders that could have been avoided if such provisions were in place, and of people not being heard or being mistreated. More and more stories are coming out as we become more connected and our ability to share this information increases.
Doctors can falsely claim that verbal consent for a (surgical) procedure or the administration of drugs while patients are anaesthetised was given during preoperative consultations. In cases where there is a negative outcome for the patient due to negligence or malpractice, it then becomes a “Dr said, Patient said' circumstance and is nearly impossible for patients to prove their case.
This outrageous situation is exacerbated due to the existing position of State and Federal legislation and is an unacceptable imbalance of power.
Informed consent must be better understood by all medical practitioners.
Non-consent must be respected and documented.
There are already best practice guidelines and mandatory reporting laws. However, nothing can be done when these laws are breached or broken, as the onus of proof falls on the patient and there are no provisions to ensure the necessary evidence exists. It is far to easy for these guidelines to be stepped over and far too hard for anything to be proven.
A wall of silence protects those who do wrong in the medical industry disproportionately to any other occupation.
Good doctors are many in this world, and we should all be grateful for them. But our respect and admiration for those who excel and listen and heal, should not blindly protect those who use their position and power carelessly or who put their patients in harm's way.
What we are proposing:
We want legislation and regulations to be changed/added so no procedure or drug that has not been signed off on by both the patient and all relevant doctors prior to the patient being anaesthetised can be performed or administered. No changes to treatments may be permitted that have not been consented to prior to surgery - outside of a legitimate medical emergency.
- It should be a requirement for detailed surgical and analgesic plans, including all potential drugs and procedures to be listed and signed off on by both parties prior to any treatment or procedure. All patient history to be listed in relation to each drug and initialled/signed by the patient.
- Any and all changes should be initialled and dated by both parties.
- Any potential additional procedures need to be discussed and signed off on prior to surgery in order for patients to be protected against procedures being carried out without consent etc. If any further procedures are required, these should be undertaken at a later date, after the patient has been given a chance to give informed consent.
- A list of all procedures and drugs that a patient does explicitly not consent to, needs to be completed and signed by both the practitioner and the patient prior to any surgery or procedure.
- No drug listed on a patient's allergy form can be consented to without the appropriate tests first being carried out to prove that no adverse reaction will be experienced by the patient. If the patient still does not consent to these drugs, they must not be administered.
- Consent cannot be obtained by misinformation, or incomplete information. Consent must be fully informed, and proof of the information provided to the patient in obtaining consent must be documented in their records and signed off on by the patient and the doctor.
- All patients to receive a carbon copy of signed documents and final consent forms to prevent any changes being made after the fact. A copy of these should also be forwarded to the patient's GP or referring doctor. If moves towards electronic/paperless systems are made, co-signing and provision of documents should be done electronically via a tablet, signature pad or other hardware.
Additional steps medical institutions and state/federal governments should enforce to put ‘Patient Safety First’:
- Lists of drugs, all their alternate names, ‘layman's’ terms for them, the conditions they may have been used for, to be collated within an Australian database so that doctors can access it and talk more openly and with patients about it.
- Mandatory training on patient-centred, evidence based care and efforts to change the culture that exists currently where patient's are not heard or listened to by heath care professionals.
- Rules are required to make it mandatory that if a doctor disagrees with a past diagnosis or reported condition/reaction - the appropriate tests must be run, previous doctors contacted or further investigation required before any contradictory treatment is administered. If this means ensuring these conversations occur before the day of surgery, or postponing surgery should this issue arise on the day, then that is what must occur.
Some stories that inspired this petition:
Authorities knew disgraced surgeon Emil Gayed had harmed women over decades
A woman who suffered anaphylaxis and was put into an induced coma after routine surgery in a Melbourne hospital alleges staff gave her medicines that were listed on her allergy forms.
Medical students are performing intrusive exams on unconscious patients
Extended information : Why this is a serious problem.
Due to the nature of medical indemnity insurers and the large teams of lawyers employed by such corporations and institutions, the power imbalance widens even further and the power of the patient to address any issues or malpractice slips away. This contributes further to the marginalisation of the disadvantaged. Insurers will attempt to prevent disadvantaged patients from accessing any kind of resolution or assistance through government complaint or regulatory bodies, instead trying to herd them into courts, where they know many will be unable to proceed due to the immense costs of legal action.
This kind of behaviour from insurers in the public sector is especially unacceptable - as Medical Indemnity Insurers for public institutions in most, if not all, Australian states and territories, are actually government bodies.
Unfortunately, government agencies in states like Victoria that were created to mediate, investigate and help to keep the public safe, such as the Health Complaints Commission, have proven to be failed enterprises- especially and particularly when dealing with the public health system. Self-regulation between government institutions in this way does not work, leaving the injured person to fight to be heard through multiple layers of government departments, lawyers and insurance companies. These processes are therefore incapable of remaining impartial and regularly fail to be transparent and protect the public. There is either no authority or no interest to create a fair and open dialogue in such scenarios, where massive imbalances of power exist by default.
When ordinary individuals who attempt to circumnavigate the bureaucratic minefield of “Yes, Minister” style organisational double-talk, legalese, departmental buck-passing; or the lost-in-the-system, nepotistic public servant merry-go-round of these institutions, it becomes apparent that they do little to address any individual complaint made. Instead compounding the harm to potential victims of serious medical negligence through their inaction, deliberate lack of transparency, past relationships to the medical institutions mentioned in complaints and stonewalling of complaints for inexplicable reasons.
Accessible and transparent legal and administrative provisions need to be actively put in place to protect patients in a situation that unavoidably marginalises and further victimises those who have suffered at the hands of negligent medical practitioners and healthcare institutions.
Difficult-to-treat patients, those with rare or little understood conditions, or those who do not have the ability to provide informed consent must be given greater authority and respect than they currently are. Thorough testing, trust, and collaborative care efforts need to be at the centre of treatment plans for such patients. Doctors need to understand that(that they are not expected to be experts in every field but to seek additional consult on issues they are unsure of.
Decisions must not be made in opposition or contradiction to reported and recorded reactions, allergies or diagnoses of any patient, even if the doctor does not agree with the patient.
If there are doubts about any allergy, reaction or diagnosis - these must be fully assessed and tested for. Doctor’s should not proceed with any treatment based on their own assumptions without any medical testing or evidence.
Without exception - any change in, or dispute to, a diagnosis should be backed up by the appropriate testing and consultations.
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