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I’m often asked if it’s OK to continue to treat a patient who refuses radiographs. I always say no. Honestly it depends who you ask. I don’t claim to be the authority on the subject but I do see more malpractice claims than anyone else you know.

Don’t think that having the patient sign a form stating that they will be responsible for the consequences of their decision will do any good. Such a form would be very different than a consent form. You’d asking the patient to sign away their right to be treated to the standard of care. I’d challenge anyone to defend that type of practice.

I believe that any patient not willing to submit to radiographs should be dismissed from the practice. The patient is asking you to care for them without the use of one of your very best diagnostic tools. How understanding do you think that patient will be when ultimately they suffer a problem that could have been prevented had radiographs been taken? By the way, that’s a rhetorical question. They’ll blame you. You can count on it.

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