Medication Consent: Where There is Risk, There Must Be Choice

10.09.2020 Life
Katie Beecher
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According to the Oxford Dictionary, informed consent is defined as, “permission granted in full knowledge of the possible consequences, typically that which is given by a patient to a doctor for treatment with knowledge of the possible risks and benefits.” I believe that people have a right to as much information as possible about everything they put into, onto, or near their bodies from drugs to food, cosmetics to cleaning products, even air and water. It’s also my opinion that people should be treated as intelligent consumers who are able to make their own choices, especially when it comes to medications.  

My experience and research into medication and consent began in 2009. It was then that my previously healthy mother began to suffer paralysis and blindness. Ten years later, she would eventually die from the side effects of a commonly used medication. Despite the fact that the side effects had been common knowledge since the 1950s, my mother was not given all of the information needed to make an informed decision. She was neither given nor directed to read the medication package insert that detailed the drug’s potential impacts. 

Often with such medications, as in the case of my mother, the patient must sign a consent form. Since my mother’s untimely death, I have studied consent forms from many different drug stores, hospitals, schools, and medical offices. Most include language like “I understand the risks and benefits involved, and it is impossible to predict all side effects”, but sadly, I couldn’t find any consent forms that listed actual side effects, other than the occasional sore arm. Most had questions asking if people have any allergies, are sick or pregnant, have had past reactions, or are taking other current medications. 

The consent form my mother signed was no exception. It asked similar questions to the other forms, but  also if she had ever had Guillain Barre, an autoimmune condition that sometimes causes permanent paralysis and death. My mother contracted Guillain Barre from her medication. The form never mentioned that the drug could cause this disease, nor did it mention stroke, her other side effect.  Even though my mother had been a nurse for over 45 years, she had never heard of Guillain Barre. She told me many times that even if one person had mentioned paralysis as a possible side effect of this drug, she would never have taken it.

Some of you may have realized that the drug my mother received was a flu shot. It was a single-dose vaccine, not the three or four-doses given out today. Across my research, I’ve learned that when providing vaccines, drug companies are not required to disclose all major side effects in advertising or package inserts, as is mandated for other medications.

Another alarming piece of information, according to the Department of Pharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety, is that drug companies are filing incomplete reports of side effects. The neurologists,who treated my mother and performed extensive testing, said that they had no doubt it was a medication side effect. They mentioned they had experienced  similar situations, including seven other people in the ICU at the same time as my mother. 

Unfortunately, this was not just a bad batch of the vaccine or even an uncommon occurrence. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lists what happened to my mother as a two in one million event. However, this statistic can be misleading as the studies relate to the single-dose flu shot, not the multi-dose flu shot, which  started to be administered shortly after my mother became disabled.  

It’s no secret that vaccines are a controversial subject surrounded by fear, hype, and often extreme views. This can make it difficult to find information about their side effects because the drug companies and media don’t openly discuss them, but with some effort, it can be done. Sadly, I couldn’t find a media outlet, large or small, who would cover what happened to my mother except for the National Vaccine Information Center and, who made a video about her experience.  

Drug companies have already begun testing the Coronavirus vaccine on humans and could go to market in as little as a  year.  On average, it takes 12 years to get other types of drugs FDA-approved, tested, and ready for market. I don’t know about you, but I’m not willing to be a guinea pig or allow my family to be either, especially without informed consent.

Through witnessing my mother’s experience, and meeting so many other vaccine-injured people, my views of vaccines have changed. Yet, to assume that this article is “anti-vax” or to see the word vaccine and immediately stop reading would be a mistake. Knowledge is power, and only by arming yourself with as much information as possible can we provide true informed consent.

Katie Beecher, MS, LPC is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Medical and Emotional Intuitive with over 30 years of experience. Her work has been featured on Goop and Poosh. She has a unique way of working with clients, creating a detailed, individualized, physical, emotional, and spiritual report and symbolic painting before ever seeing or talking with them. She is currently working on a book outlining her journey helping people in the Medical Intuitive fields.

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