Should part of the informed consent discussion include your physician’s telling you that you would get better care elsewhere? That is the subject of a fascinating article in today’s NY Times . Reporter Denise Grady discusses the awkward situation that can arise when your local surgeon, for example, should tell you that your rectal cancer would be better addressed at a big-city teaching hospital, despite your wish to remain close to home. Is the surgeon obligated to do so? Good question.
Ms. Grady provides a couple of useful links for people faced with decisions regarding surgeries. You can find out how well (or poorly) a hospital does in performing operations, and treating illnesses, at www.hospitalcompare.hhs.gov . Additionally, you can find information on hospital infection rates in some states at www.hospitalinfection.org .