On June 20, 2017, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that the duty to obtain informed consent is held by the physician. The ruling states:
“… a physician cannot rely on a subordinate to disclose the information required to obtain informed consent. Without direct dialogue and a two-way exchange between the physician and the patient, the physician cannot be confident that the patient comprehends the risks, benefits, likelihood of success and alternatives.”
What does this mean for your practice?
Physicians may not delegate to others the duty of informing patients about the treatment options, associated risks and material information needed by patients to make an informed consent. Additionally, communications between physicians’ staff members and patients will no longer be admissible at trials as to the issue of whether a physician obtained informed consent from the patient.
Additional Resources and Discussions about the PA Supreme Court Ruling
- Pennsylvania Medical Society Brief
- PA Supreme Court Ruling: Only Doctors Can Obtain Informed Consent article
Read more about mitigating your risks regarding Informed Consent in NORCAL’s Risk Management Resource library available through MyACCOUNT, which can be accessed at www.norcal-group.com. You can also speak to one of NORCAL’s Risk Management professionals directly by calling 855.882.3412 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.