We’re all flooded with new-year mail. My mail in particular pertains to the latest and greatest creams, machines and schemes promising anything you want. Now, I’d like to say that this is new to 2012, but it isn’t. The promising millions of the beauty Holy Grail have been going on for years to a point where consumers are confused with what really works and what actually is not a health hazard. In addition to print are internet promotions and TV medical shows featuring beauty intervention gadgets and products. It really is hard to evaluate what works and what doesn’t work for not only you, the layman consumer, but also me, the physician/plastic surgeon whose job it is to instruct and recommend the right thing….or purchase devices that actually do the job.
Well, as I had mentioned in my previous blog, the plus of being an American is that we do have choices. And, the aforementioned venues put a ton of info in our faces about a topic that appeals to all of us and can be summarized into one word: beauty. Earlier this year, I had the pleasure of learning about Santa Clara University’s Markkula Center for Applied Ethics during a presentation at the Capital Club, a business networking club in San Jose, California (THE Capital Club of Silicon Valley and don’t you forget it!). A wonderful brochure entitled, “Making an Ethical Decision”, was distributed at the presentation’s conclusion. As I read through the brochure’s 10 points, I thought how one could apply this decision process to purchasing product, investigating plastic surgery or pursuing any elective surgery. I editorialized the 10 points into 5 points that I believe serve as a helpful guide in this reference; however, I encourage you to obtain the featured brochure in its original form through my office or the center itself at 500 El Camino Real, Santa Clara, CA 95053-0633, 408-554-5319. I also invite you to visit Santa ClaraUniversity’s MarkkulaCenterfor Applied Ethics’ website www.scu.edu/ethics or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Could this decision be damaging to me, does it involve a choice between good and bad alternatives, and is this legal, FDA approved or gold-standard?
What are the relevant facts that are known or unknown, and do I know enough to make a decision or do I need to learn more?
What individuals and groups have an important stake in my decision? Are they looking out for my best interest or are they going for a sell?
What are the options for acting? Have all relevant persons and groups been consulted? Have I identified creative options?
After investigating and considering all approaches, which option best addresses my concern, and if I told someone I respect my decision, what would I or they say?
I hope this helps because I certainly have your best interest at heart whether or not you are my patient. Please, never underestimate your own smarts, ask questions and value your health and body.