NEWS

Patient power

The established view is that the doctor knows best and decides for the patient. Who makes the decisions? The patient. Medicine used to be doctor-centered and it has to become person-centered. Nowadays, patients get briefed, they participate and they make the decision together with the doctor. Personally, I don’t know any doctor who’s had problems through involving their patients. Greek doctors usually inform the relatives, not the patient, in the case of a serious illness. Isn’t the patient’s consent required? Only when a patient has problems communicating should relatives be informed, and then it should be the next of kin. A patient has the right to be informed and the doctor must take the time to get to know the patient and speak to them in the right way. Some patients with cancer might die of depression if told the truth outright. Are patients receiving experimental treatment informed of the dangers? They should be informed, because to do otherwise is unacceptable medical practice subject to punishment. According to the principles agreed upon in Helsinki, patients have the right to be informed of any new method, technique or operation to which they are subjected. There should also be a bioethics committee, and the principle of patient’s consent should be upheld.