My 87 year-old Aunt Jean threw me a curve ball today. I’ve been taking her to to a series of doctor appointments over the course of the last few months for a problem with her eyes.
We got a diagnosis about a month ago along with a referral to an eye surgeon. I took her there for an exam two weeks ago, and today was the final pre-op appointment. I went into the room with her and was more than a little surprised when she refused to sign the consent form.
It was item #3: “Possible Risks” that sent her into a tizzy. They said there was a possibility of the following: Pain, bleeding, infection, over correction, under correction, recurrence of problem, scars, damage to eye, loss of vision, and death.
She told the nurse that the doctor must not be very competent if he would ask her accept all of the risk in case he made a mistake, and she cancelled the surgery.
The nurse was kind and patient and made a valiant effort to assure her that the form was drawn up by lawyers to prevent frivolous lawsuits and it was highly unlikely that she would experience any of those things. Jean wouldn’t budge.
I didn’t push her because I know when she sets her jaw and says “No!” she doesn’t mean “Maybe.”
I don’t think she’s making the right decision. I suspect she’s going to end up with another nasty infection and she will eventually have to sign the darn form and have surgery. If and when that happens, we’ll deal with it. In the meantime, she’s fully in charge of her own life and she’s not going to consent to anything that doesn’t make sense to her.