When my recent blog post about HealthDay failing to challenge a researcher’s claim that universal pancreatic cancer screening was ready for prime time was re-posted on MedPageToday, an interesting comment was left on that site.
It’s an anonymous comment, the person identified only as a 61-year old RN. As with any online comment, it’s not verified. It’s only one comment. But it makes me wonder how often this might occur. 61-year old RN wrote:
“My neighbor and her husband just received letters from the Gastroenterologist, informing each of them that they must have a colonoscopy or else he would not provide any future care for them and would not be held responsible for the consequences. Her husband, an attorney, thought the wording of this letter actually sounded like a threat. I fail to see why people should be coerced into having certain diagnostic tests and not be offered information about other testing options. Threatening with “have this test or else” seems pretty strong to me. My coworker just had a colonoscopy and ended up in the hospital for 3 days due to fever, elevated white count, abnormal CT scan, and severe abdominal pain. The overall consensus when she went home was that she may have sustained a tear to her colon from the test. Suffice it to say, she’ll think pretty hard before she agrees to another such exam.”
Based on recent research, perhaps most notably the DECISIONS study, we know that the quantity and quality of shared decision-making encounters in US health care is not what it could/should be. But we are curious how often instances like the above alleged coercion might actually take place.
Please leave a comment if you can add to this discussion.