In looking at Patient Advocacy, I have begun doing some research into the "Patient's Right to Refuse" and it has been both fascinating and scary.
Is there truly a right to refuse if doing so may result in "non-compliance" or "Against Medical Advice" being noted in your chart??
For those who don't know, being labeled "non-compliant" or being noted as going A.M.A. can result in a physician's refusal to treat you down the road. If it has been documented that you have not complied with medical regimens or medical orders, this gives the docs grounds to say that they won't do surgery on you or give you other kinds of therapy because you won't be responsible enough to care for yourself and follow orders.
While this makes sense on the one hand, it worries me to know that one day I might refuse a useless and unneeded MRI only to later find myself as labeled "non-compliant" or, worse, AMA. What if I chose to not have the elective stomach surgery the docs told me they wanted me to have? Would I then be non-compliant? AMA? I can't afford to take those risks but I also can't afford to follow every medical order blindly.
Here's the crazy part--these terms, non-compliance and AMA, have no real guidelines. They are arbitrary and rest in the hands of each healthcare professional to use at their discretion.
Is the Patient's Right to Refuse a right or a ruse? Is elective surgery elective when your doctor tells you to do it? Where are the lines? Why aren't there clear guidelines for doctors to follow? Why are these potentially powerful labels so ambiguous? Isn't that dangerous for us patients? Doesn't that leave us at the mercy of personalities and moods instead of protocols and thought-out boundaries?
Please weigh in on this topic!!