On September 14, 2018, Dr. Matt Stein gave an enlightening talk about the history and evolution of informed consent and a provider’s duty to inform you of the risks and benefits of proposed treatment methods. Dr. Stein highlighted the importance of knowing a proposed medication’s number of people needed to treat (NNT) to see the benefit from a drug, as well as it’s potential harms. Tying into KABC’s anti-psychotic drug advocacy work, Dr. Stein then revealed the NNT of anti-psychotic medication for dementia patients– there is no benefit, while the NNT for harm is 1 person in 53 will die. Dr. Stein emphasized the importance of the doctor thoroughly and realistically sharing information with the patient understanding the person’s limits and with their legal representative. It is not only an ethical duty, but also a legal responsibility to allow patients or their representatives to make their own decisions with as much understanding of the risks and benefits as possible. Dr. Stein’s presentation is available here.
“Don’t be scared to ask and pursue understandable answers from all providers.”