Doctor responds to letter writer concerns about informed consent
In a letter sent to Plumas News and in remarks made during public comment at the Jan. 26 meeting of the Plumas District Hospital board, Taylorsville resident Dan Kearns discussed informed consent and what he perceived as the lack of it during the COVID response. His letter can be read here.
While the board doesn’t respond to public comment, later in the meeting CEO JoDee Read read a letter submitted by Dr. Ross Morgan, who is the medical director for the Plumas Rural Health Center. It reads as follows:
In light of a recent Plumas News Letter to the Editor Opinion Jan 4, 2023 “Concerned about lack of informed consent” I would like to provide the following statement for to you to share with the board; and if you choose feel free to share at the Board meeting Jan 2, 2023.
Although the article expressed concern about the health care system in general, I wish to reassure you and the board that all of the PDH Medical Staff members and clinic medical care providers have the best interest of the patients and patient’s rights as our highest priorities. “First do no harm” is a motto we live by. Patients indeed have the right to accept or decline treatment after information about risks and benefits is clearly communicated. All providers stand by that commitment and will continue to do so.
Paxlovid specifically is an antiviral therapy which was FDA approved under the Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) program. Its initial proven efficacy was a huge boon to our ability as providers to offer accessible therapy to dramatically reduce the hospitalization rates and mortality rate of COVID when it was first made available. I would like to remind everyone that the Paxlovid EUA was approved in the setting of an unprecedented worldwide pandemic which has caused 47 Plumas County, 1.1 million US, and 6.7 million worldwide often gruesome and painful deaths. The current medical providers have never experienced anything like it in our careers or even lifetimes. With the pandemic currently in a much diminished and manageable state, it is indeed time to re-evaluate the accumulated data for Paxlovid’s safety and for its continued utility.
It will remain the responsibility of dedicated medical professionals to inform patients as thoroughly as possible of the limited data on potential risks of Paxlovid as well as all other EUA therapies. As medical director of Plumas Rural Health Center I have confirmed that providers are committed to this process and I have contacted both local pharmacies to confirm that they are also performing their own drug interaction checks and providing appropriate drug information, including that of the EUA status of Paxlovid, prior to filling prescriptions.
I applaud the writer of the letter for highlighting the importance of informed consent in the health care system. As prescribing providers we gladly accept that responsibility.
We consider it a privilege to have been able to serve the community through this brutal and harrowing pandemic.
The directors did not discuss the issue further during the meeting.
During a brief interview following the meeting, new board member Sam Blesse said he appreciated that Kearns shared his sentiments as it provides opportunity to discuss the ongoing response to COVID.