"The most important thing to remember is this: the hospital power structure," Dr. Saul says. "No matter what hospital you go in… Maybe you've got to be in a teaching hospital. Maybe you don't have a lot of choices. Maybe you are there because of financial issues. Maybe it's because of geographical issues. Maybe it's because it was an emergency, and you woke up in the hospital. Maybe you have to be there on a weekend...
The question is, "Are you going to walk out the front door, or be wheeled out the back?"
Now, here's what people need to do. They need to understand that when they are faced with hospitalization, the most powerful person in the most entire hospital system is the patient.
The system works on the assumption that the patient will not claim that power... You might have set that up with a document. If you have a power of attorney, a living will, or other types of paperwork or someone is responsible, then we know who's responsible. But let's say that it's just an ordinary situation—the patient has the most power.
A patient can say, "No. Do not touch me." And they can't. If they do, it's assault, and you can call the police. Now, they might say, "Well, on your way in, you signed this form."
You can unsign it. You can revoke your permission. Just because somebody has permission to do one thing, it doesn't mean that they have the permission to do everything. There's no such thing as a situation that you cannot reverse. If you can make amendments to the U.S. Constitution, you can change your mind about your own personal healthcare. It concerns your very life. You don't want to cry wolf for no reason, but the patient has the potential to put a stop to anything; absolutely anything.
If the patient doesn't know that, if they're not conscious, or if they just don't have the moxie to do it, the next most powerful person is the spouse. The spouse has enormous influence and can do almost as much as the patient. If the patient is incapacitated, the spouse can probably do much more than the patient.
If there is no spouse present, the next most powerful people in the system are the children of the patient... You'll notice that I haven't mentioned doctors or hospital administrators once. That's because they don't have the power. They really don't. They just want you to think that you do. It is an illusion that they run the place. The answer is – you do. They're offering you products and services, and they're trying to get you to accept them without question.
... [W]hen you go to the hospital, bring along a black Sharpie pen, and cross out anything that you don't like in the contract. Put big giant X's through entire clauses and pages, and do not sign it. And when they say, "We're not going to admit you," you say, "Please put it in writing that you refuse to admit me." What do you think your lawyers are going to do with that? They have to [admit you]. They absolutely have to...
It's a game, and you can win it. But you can't win it if you don't know the rules. And basically, they don't tell you the rules. In Hospitals and Health, we do."