“Can I refuse X-rays? On The Dr Oz Show, They Said…..”
Now you have to realize that I have never watched the Dr Oz show. Yet, I find myself answering questions about what patients claim they heard on the show. I have a couple of patients saying that on the show, they were told to question x-rays and refuse them if possible. I have several patients telling me that Dr Oz told them to refuse x-rays all together. Although I have never watched the show, I am pretty sure that Dr Oz would never say such a thing. Although I am sure that before the start and end of the show there are disclaimers releasing him of all liability, he still would not make such claims. This brings us to the point of whether a patient has the right to refuse x-rays. The answer is NO. Patients cannot refuse x-rays if they want to be treated. They cannot refuse x-rays even if they sign a release.
As health care professionals we are held responsible by different parties. First, the state licensing board holds us responsible. We have to be able to prove our findings and diagnosis. By looking at all the evidence, they should be able to come up with the same conclusion. Without x-rays, often times there is no way to be able to diagnose. As a matter of fact, there is not enough evidence to diagnose. The state board can audit charts. They can pull our license.
Second the legal system holds us accountable. Without x-rays, we simply do not have enough to diagnose. How did we come up with the conclusions that we came up with? Even if a patient signed a release of x-rays, the courts do not accept this release. A patient is not an expert in the field. A doctor cannot accept supervised neglect. In other words, if a patient chooses to neglect themselves by refusing x-rays and the doctor allows it, the state considers it neglect by the doctor. Plus, the patient cannot sign a letter releasing a doctor of any responsibility.
Third, the insurance industry often times holds us accountable. Without proper x-rays, insurances do not pay for some treatments such as crowns, cleanings and referrals. In fact, if you have insurance, they have the right to audit your chart. Dental offices are routinely audited by your insurance. To charge out something without having proper evidence could lead to claims of fraud.
Finally, we are held accountable to our own ethics. We have to do what is best for our patients. Without x-rays, we simply cannot see what is going on inside a patient’s mouth. Without x-rays, we cannot do what is right for our patients.
However, I do appreciate that no one wants extra exposure to radiation. As healthcare practitioners, we do need to follow guidelines to protect the patients and gives dentists the tools to be able to diagnose and treat properly. At Oasis Dental Arts we follow the guidelines set by the FDA.