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Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Informed-consent ruling may have “far-reaching, negative impact”

Andis Robeznieks
AMA Wire
Originally published August 8, 2017

Here are two excerpts:

A lawsuit alleging Dr. Toms had not obtained informed consent was initiated by Shinal and her husband on Dec. 17, 2009. The brief notes that Shinal “did not assert that the harm was the result of negligence” and that “there is no contention” that Dr. Toms’ staff provided inaccurate information during the informed consent process.

A jury found for Dr. Toms. Shinal appealed and the Pennsylvania Superior Court affirmed the decision. The case was heard before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in November 2016. The case was decided June 20.

According to Wecht, a key issue is “whether the trial court misapplied the common law and the MCARE Act when it instructed the jury that it could consider information provided to Mrs. Shinal by Dr. Toms' ‘qualified staff’ in deciding whether Dr. Toms obtained Mrs. Shinal's informed consent to aggressive brain surgery.”

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PAMED General Counsel Angela Boateng also weighed in.

“It was not uncommon for other qualified staff to assist a physician in providing the requisite information or answering follow-up questions a patient may have had. The Medical Practice Act and other professional regulations permitted this level of assistance,” she commented. “The patient’s ability to follow up with the physician or his qualified staff was usually aimed at promoting a patient’s understanding of the treatment or procedure to be completed. The court’s decision, however, has put an end to this practice.”

The article is here.
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