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Informed consent still an overlooked step Marie Bismark study

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Posted 21 September 2012 - 08:57 PM

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Informed consent still an overlooked step
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14th Aug 2012
Byron Kaye all articles by this author

DOCTORS have been reminded to inform patients of even unlikely risks and keep timely notes to protect themselves legally, after a study suggested ‘informed consent’ was among the most commonly overlooked steps exposing medical practitioners to negligence claims.

The study, led by University of Melbourne population health researcher Dr Marie Bismark, published in PLOS Medicine, found that of 481 informed consent cases between 2002 and 2008, 375 concerned alleged failure to appropriately warn of risks.

Of those, 45 were “disputed duty” cases – over whether the doctor was obliged to disclose risk. The most common reason doctors gave for non-disclosure was “the risk was too rare” (18 out of 45), followed by belief the specific risk was covered in the general risk warning (11). Other reasons doctors gave were belief the risk was “obvious” (5) and that the benefits too greatly outweighed the risks to mention them (4).

MDA National manager of medico-legal and advisory services Dr Sara Bird said doctors must tell patients “potential outcomes and consequences…rather than the actual risk itself” and keep detailed notes since most negligence claims hinged on who said what when, rather than outright omission.
PLOS Medicine 2012: 9(8), e1001283

Tags: TGA: Medico-legal, informed consent, disputed duty, Marie Bismark, negligenc
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