Wisconsin Ponders Informed Consent
Side Note: The Wisconsin Supreme Court is currently reviewing a case that challenge’s notions about informed consent. While we have previously discussed here the concept of informed consent and stressed that it is not merely getting a signature on a consent form, it bears repeating that informed consent is a process and a conversation. However, that said, we fear that the state of Wisconsin may make it an infinite conversation.
The current case involves a physician, Therese J. Bullis, MD, who made a diagnosis of Bell’s Palsy in the ER for patient Thomas Jandre. The patient later had a stroke. Dr. Bullis was not found negligent for the diagnosis in 2008, but she was found liable for not providing proper informed consent. In 2010, an appellate court upheld this decision. The appellate court said that the physician is not only responsible for presenting information related to the diagnosis made, but should also present what “… a reasonable person in the patient’s position [would] want to know in order to make an intelligent decision with respect to the choices of treatment.”
This poses a strange situation. It throws the doors wide open as to the scope of informed consent. No longer would a physician be required to discuss information just pertaining to the diagnosis made, it seems that physicians would need to include information pertaining to diagnoses not made, as well.
Having to uphold this new level of informed consent would not only put an extraordinary burden on physicians, but many feel that it would contribute to an even higher level of defensive medicine practiced and it would result in more unnecessary tests being ordered to avoid potential medical malpractice lawsuits.
Contributing to this case, Wisconsin has a complicated history of informed consent cases and rulings. Read the article below for further details and we will keep you posted on the developments in this case as they happen. We here at MyMedicalMalpracticeInsurance.com understand that Wisconsin physicians don’t want to have to use their Wisconsin liability insurance. We can only hope that the Wisconsin Supreme Court will make a reasonable ruling and protect Wisconsin physicians from further medical liability exposure.
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Wisconsin high court weighs responsibilities on informed consent
By Alicia Gallegos
Posted Apr 25, 2011 on amednews.com
The Wisconsin Supreme Court is reviewing a lower court’s decision finding a physician negligent for failing to inform a patient about a stroke test after diagnosing him with a condition marked by stroke-like symptoms.
The case raises questions about the scope of informed consent and how much treatment information doctors should provide about conditions for which patients are not diagnosed. Experts say the high court’s ruling could lead to unnecessary health information being given to patients and doctors ordering unneeded tests to avoid lawsuits.