Hidden Laws and Guidelines on Informed Consent Could Protect Children Against Mandatory Vaccination

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Hidden Laws and Guidelines on Informed Consent Could Protect Children Against Mandatory Vaccination

Hidden Laws and Guidelines on Informed Consent Could Protect Children Against Mandatory Vaccination

Recently, new laws have emerged surrounding the issue of informed consent, both in the UK and the US. However, very few of us know that these laws exist. We believe that this is because these laws have the potential to protect children against mandatory vaccination.

In the UK, a recent ruling titled The Montgomery Ruling states that a patient must have sufficient information to make an informed choice about any medical treatment that is being offered to them.

In 2015, the website Medical Protection, which outlined this ruling, stated that:

The patient must have sufficient information to make a choice – without adequate information, patients are unable to make decisions about their treatment. The information provided should, for example, include: an explanation of the investigation, diagnosis or treatment; an explanation of the probabilities of success, or the risk of failure; or harm associated with options for treatment. The patient should be given time to ask questions. The GMC and the courts expect patients to be given all information material to their decision, with the proviso that it would not cause the patient serious harm.”

They continued:

The patient must be able to give their consent freely – pressuring patients into consenting to treatment invalidates the consent. To ensure that consent is freely given, patients should, where possible, be given time to consider their options before deciding to proceed with a proposed treatment. Be aware, too, that patients’ friends and relatives may also try to exert their influence and that this can be subtle but nevertheless powerful.”

This ruling, which was made following the case of Montgomery v Lanarkshire Health Board, has huge implications surrounding the health and safety of hundreds of thousands of children, not only in the UK but worldwide. 

Putting Pressure on Parents to Vaccinate Their Children

For many years, doctors have been putting immense pressure on parents to have their children vaccinated.  Doctors have repeatedly failed in their duty to provide parents with adequate information regarding the safety of the vaccinations that are being offered. 

According to this ruling, anyone considering a medical investigation, diagnosis or treatment, has the right to have a full disclosure, and this must surely include vaccination.

Patients and Doctors Making Decisions Together

Interestingly, one document that was mentioned in the Montgomery v Lanarkshire Health Board judgement was titled Consent: Patients and Doctors Making Decisions Together.

Issued in 2008 by the General Medical Council (GMC), this document outlined a number of important guidelines for health care professionals to follow regarding the treatment of patients. 

The GMC stated that health care professionals must:

  • Work in partnership with patients
  • Listen to, and respond to, their concerns and preferences 
  • Give patients the information they want or need in a way they can understand
  • Respect patients’ right to reach decisions together about their treatment and care

In Part 1, point 2, they stated:

Whatever the context in which medical decisions are made, you must work in partnership with your patients to ensure good care. In so doing, you must:

a) Listen to patients and respect their views about their health

b) Discuss with patients what their diagnosis, prognosis, treatment and care involve

c) Share with patients the information they want or need in order to make decisions

d) Maximise patients’ opportunities, and their ability, to make decisions for themselves

e) Respect patients’ decisions.”

Interestingly and crucially, in relation to side effects and the dangers of the proposed treatment, the document stated the following:

28. Clear, accurate information about the risks of any proposed investigation or treatment, presented in a way patients can understand, can help them make informed decisions. The amount of information about risk that you should share with patients will depend on the individual patient and what they want or need to know. Your discussions with patients should focus on their individual situation and the risk to them.

29. In order to have effective discussions with patients about risk, you must identify the adverse outcomes that may result from the proposed options. This includes the potential outcome of taking no action. Risks can take a number of forms, but will usually be:

a) side effects

b) complications 

c) failure of an intervention to achieve the desired aim.

Risks can vary from common but minor side effects, to rare but serious adverse outcomes possibly resulting in permanent disability or death.” (own emphasis)

Although vaccination is a preventive measure and not a treatment, it is clear that this paper does state that: “Whatever the context in which medical decisions are made …” and vaccination is definitely a medical decision.

This information has been available to the health care professionals since 2008, therefore, it is difficult to understand why the majority of health care providers have chosen to ignore these guidelines when it comes to vaccinations.

The GMC stated on their website that their organization strives to:

“… protect patients and improve medical education and practice in the UK by setting standards for students and doctors. We support them in achieving and exceeding those standards, and take action when they are not met.”

However, when children suffer an adverse reaction to a vaccination, it appears that the only people they protect is themselves.

US Equivalent Document Packed Full of Interesting Clauses

Whereas the information detailed in the Montgomery judgement was straightforward and relatively easy to find, the US equivalent, titled American Medical Association – Informed Consent – Patient Physician Relationship, mentioned on HG.org Legal Resources had been removed. However, the paper can be found, referenced in considerable detail, on the American Medical Association (AMA) website.

In the section titled, Informed Consent: What Must a Physician Disclose to a Patient?
the AMA have stated:

“To avoid legal action, according to the doctrine of informed consent, physicians must disclose enough information for the patient to make an “informed” decision. However, because informed consent laws and principles do not specify the amount of information that must be disclosed, physicians might find it useful to know what they must typically disclose.”

The AMA continued by listing several conditions which could be considered to be possible “get out clauses.” These clauses appear to protect the physician rather than the patient.

Interestingly, however, after a case in Canterbury, in which a patient successfully sued his physician for failing to disclose life-changing and highly relevant information, the AMA stated that:

“In Canterbury, the decision outlined key pieces of information that a physician must disclose:

(1) condition being treated; (2) nature and character of the proposed treatment or surgical procedure; (3) anticipated results; (4) recognized possible alternative forms of treatment; and (5) recognized serious possible risks, complications, and anticipated benefits involved in the treatment or surgical procedure, as well as the recognized possible alternative forms of treatment, including non-treatment [4, 5].”     

On the face of it, the document appeared to be pretty reasonable; however, everything appeared to change about half way through the document, in a section titled Exceptions, because the AMA stated that:

“The courts have noted two additional exceptions to the requirement that physicians elicit and document informed consent. The first applies when both (1) the patient is unconscious or otherwise incapable of consenting and (2) the benefit of treating the patient outweighs any potential harm of the treatment. Under these circumstances, the physician is not required to obtain informed consent before treating, but must do so as soon as it is medically possible [13, 14].” (own emphasis)

In point 2 of the above paragraph, the AMA have made it clear, that the onus is on the physician to decide whether or not the benefit of treating the patient outweighs any potential harm that the treatment may cause, thus waiving the need to gain the patient’s consent.  

In other words, according to the AMA, physicians have the right to play God with the lives of their patients whenever they feel like it.

Is this the clause being used to avoid the need for informed consent in cases of vaccination?

Second AMA Document on Informed Consent

In 2016, the AMA published a second document, titled Code of Medical Ethics.  In chapter two, titled OPINIONS ON CONSENT, COMMUNICATION & DECISION MAKING, section 2.1.3 the AMA stated that:

“Withholding Information from Patients  

“Truthful and open communication between physician and patient is essential for trust in the relationship and for respect for autonomy. Withholding pertinent medical information from patients in the belief that disclosure is medically contraindicated creates a conflict between the physician’s obligations to promote patient welfare and to respect patient autonomy.”

In section 2.2.1, the AMA discussed pediatric decision-making. They stated:

“Decisions for pediatric patients should be based on the child’s best interest, which is determined by weighing many factors, including effectiveness of appropriate medical therapies and the needs and interests of the patient and the family as the source of support and care for the patient. When there is legitimate inability to reach consensus about what is in the best interest of the child, the wishes of the parents/guardian should generally receive preference.”

Although this paper, like the other papers I have discussed, has been written to guide medical professionals on the art of gaining consent from their patients regarding a medical treatment, many could argue that the AMA’s guidelines could also be applied when gaining consent for vaccination. However, that would largely depend on whether or not vaccinations can be classified as a medical treatment. 

Whilst it is clear to see that changes are being made regarding the issue of consent, these changes are too little, too late, for the thousands of children who have suffered an adverse reaction to vaccination.

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