Questions to Ask Before Medicating

By: Tara Hettinger
By: Tara Hettinger

Questions to Ask Your Doctor:

Can you explain in simple terms why this treatment or procedure is being recommended, and what exactly will happen?

Can you send me for a second opinion?

What are the known risks?

What are the foreseeable risks?

What potential benefits have been seen, or might be deemed possible?

What about my child's quality of life? Do the benefits outweigh the risks?

If this is a trial procedure, why would you choose this one over another one?

What is your medical background?

How long have you been doing procedures or treatments like this?

Where did you train?

Questions to ask yourself:

Do you feel you understand what is being recommended and why?

Do you feel you have a good rapport with your doctor?

Do you feel you trust him?

Do you feel your doctor cares about your child?

Does your doctor appear to care about you as well, and about your understanding of your child's condition?

Have your checked your doctors' and/or the hospital's credentials?

Have you been sent for a second opinion?

Have you asked if there are any alternatives to this treatment plan or procedure?

If your child is already critically ill and you are unsure of the outcome of this procedure-will your child's quality of life be improved or will it decline?

If you don't need to make an instant decision -- Have you considered whether it might be wise to wait, or even not to do this particular procedure?

Have you talked with other parents who have gone through a similar procedure?

Do you feel that you yourself are well-informed?

Have you done enough reading and research on the topic?

Have you sought enough support (emotional, spiritual) before making this decision?

Would you do this yourself if you were the patient?

If you were your child's age, would you want to do this procedure or treatment?

Questions to Ask Your Child:

What are you thinking or feeling about all this?

What do you know about what this procedure, operation, or treatment is? Have you heard anything about it from your friends or your doctor?

What have people told you about it? (If child answers the question above, then follow up with…) Well, let's talk about this. I've heard that what happens is the following…. How would you feel IF you were to have this procedure, treatment, or operation? (If child answers the question above and has questions/concerns you can't answer, follow up with…) Let's talk about this some more with your doctor. I can understand your feelings and maybe the doctor can help answer your questions.


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