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DECISION-MAKING: THE RISKS AND BENEFITS OF THE DECISIONS

by admin - January 16th, 2011.
Filed under: Epilepsy.

Some decisions in medicine are clear and easy, others are more difficult. If your physician thinks your child has appendicitis, not operating could lead to a ruptured appendix and infection resulting in, at least, a severe illness and, at worst, death. The risks of operating are small with modern anesthesia, but there is a small risk of death and of infection with any operation. Comparing the risks of surgery with those of not operating, virtually anyone would recommend surgery. But suppose the signs of appendicitis are not clear and there is only some tenderness in her abdomen. Your doctor might postpone surgery because the risks of an operation might be greater than the risks of waiting. As the child is observed, the time may come when the risks of waiting outweigh the risks and consequences of surgery.
As we talk about the risks and benefits of the decisions you will now have to make about your child and her seizure management, keep in mind that:
• There will be risks and benefits to each decision you make or don’t make;
• These risks and benefits will vary greatly in their consequences and in the magnitude of the consequence, both good and bad;
• The risks and benefits are yours and your child’s, not your physician’s;
• Frequently there are no “correct” or “incorrect” decisions, as  far as we can see. Different people will come to different decisions. However, there are always consequences to whatever decision is made or not made and they must be assessed in advance as far as is possible.
No one can accurately predict the future. Consequences are not always foreseeable. Therefore, you and your physician must always make the best decision possible without feeling guilty if things don’t work out the way you planned.
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