Celebrating Medical Freedom: The Importance of Informed Consent

Dr. Patricia Wilhite McCartney, JD,ND,DAN

7/3/20242 min read

Understanding Medical Freedom

What freedoms do you cherish most? As we prepare to celebrate Independence Day and reflect on our freedoms, one of the most fundamental rights we should exercise is medical freedom—the right to choose the care we want. Medical freedom encompasses our ability to make informed decisions about our health, including the option to explore various medical treatments and therapies. The right to make the best decision for each individual's life and beliefs is integral to our overall well-being and autonomy.

The Concept of Informed Consent

Informed consent is a foundational principle of medical freedom. It's meant to ensure that patients are fully aware of the potential benefits, risks, and alternatives before undergoing any medical procedure or treatment. Informed consent empowers individuals to make educated decisions about their health care, based on a comprehensive understanding of their options. This principle is not just a legal requirement but an ethical obligation that respects patient autonomy and promotes trust between patients and healthcare providers.

Exploring Alternative Therapies

Medical freedom also includes the right to consider alternative therapies, such as complementary medicine. Complementary medicine encompasses a range of practices that fall outside conventional Western medicine, including mind-body medicine, essential oil therapy, herbal remedies, detoxification, nutrition and more. These therapies can be used as safe alternatives to conventional medicine or alongside standard treatments to enhance overall health and well-being. By exploring alternative therapies, patients can take a more holistic approach to their health, considering both traditional and non-traditional treatment options.

The Role of Healthcare Providers

According to research, up to one-third of Americans utilize some form of complimentary medicine. However, the majority of conventional doctors fail to inquire or educate patients on the viability, safety, and success rates of evidence based alternative or supportive therapies, some dating back thousands of years. Conventional healthcare providers play a crucial role in upholding the principles of informed consent and medical freedom. They are responsible for providing patients with accurate, unbiased information about all available treatment options, including the potential benefits and risks of each. For physicians unfamiliar with non-conventional options, a multi disciplinary approach, which includes holistic practitioners, may be adopted to ensure patients are receiving the information necessary ti make medical decisions that may have life altering effects. This transparency allows patients to make informed choices that align with their values and preferences. Additionally, such actions demonstrate that healthcare providers respect patients' decisions, even if they choose alternative therapies or opt-out of certain treatments.


As we celebrate Independence Day and our cherished freedoms, it is essential that each of us recognize the importance of medical freedom and informed consent. These principles exist to ensure that we have the autonomy to make informed decisions about our health and explore various treatment options, including alternative therapies. By upholding these values, we can foster a more patient-centered care approach that respects individual choices and promotes holistic well-being.