Choice is a misnomer

Youngest son threw me into confusion on Wednesday by having a ?fit?faint in school.  It was a most effective way to get out of a telling off from his teacher, but led to me spending a happy day in hospital while they checked every aspect of his anatomy for anomalies.  Of course, and happily, there were none.  Different people are freaked by different things.  I don’t mind blood at all, but youngest son completely flipped when the nurse did a pinprick test on his finger.  He speaks of that, and giving urine, as the worst pars of the day.

What struck me was the “choice” given to my six year old.  ‘Would you mind if….’ ‘May I…’ even ‘Please can I…’ The three doctors we saw all gave him the option to let a complete stranger look in his ears/down his throat/push on his tummy.  And of course, being the sensible six year old that he is, he said, ‘NO!’ But really there was no choice.  He needed to be checked out, so that next time he needs to be reprimanded, he won’t throw us into a panic again by passing out (only joking!).

Presumably this patient choice thing is so deep rooted in the culture that it is difficult to recognise when appropriate options goes too far.  Youngest didn’t have a choice about the examination – as his parent I might have had choice, but I wanted him checked out.  So no matter how often he said ‘no’ it happened anyway.  Which completely undermines the notion of choice.  Which defeats the point of giving it.

Finally one doctor saw sense, and stopped asking.  The examinations completed, the medics decided this was a one off, and sent us home. I learnt that next time (if there is one), I’ll tell them not to pretend he has a choice. He will submit to the pin prick, because he is six, and his mother says so.