Medical therapeutics: mortality effects, uncertainty, and informed consent

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Many drugs used in medical therapeutics are able to save human lives. Unfortunately, many such drugs have also led to the death of patients. This fact raises important issues discussed in light of a number of cases taken from cardiovascular therapeutics. Medical therapeutics currently includes a vast number of different types of interventions, including drugs, devices, surgery, and diets. In what regards drugs, we currently use molecules with profound influences on the human body—some of which leading occasionally to negative outcomes or even to patient death. A reasonable degree of statistical certainty goes along with a large degree of individual uncertainty—a phenomenon is seen in a group of patients but a quite different phenomenon may be seen in a particular case. When treating an individual patient, it is his/her interest and personal preferences that must be taken into consideration, not the interests of society or of science. The choice of medical therapy with a definite intrinsic mortality risk must imply strict accordance from the part of the patient. Since many therapeutic modalities do carry a definite mortality risk, an overall change in medical practice is necessary. Informed consent should be the rule, and should be the starting point for medical therapeutics.This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives License 4.0 (CCBY-NC-ND), where it is permissible to download and share the work provided it is properly cited. The work cannot be changed in any way or used commercially without permission from the journal.

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