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3.8-4  Informed Consent

Revised to January 1, 2008

The theory of informed consent imposes a duty upon a physician that is completely separate and distinct from (his/her) responsibility to skillfully diagnose and treat the patientís ills.  A physician has a duty to disclose all known material risks of the proposed procedure.  A material risk is risk that a reasonably prudent person in the patientís position would have found significant in deciding whether or not to submit to the proposed procedure.  The physician has a duty to give a patient whose situation permits it all information material to the decision to undergo the proposed procedure.  This duty includes a responsibility to advise the patient of feasible alternatives.  The duty to warn of alternatives exists only when there are feasible alternatives available.

The plaintiff must prove both that there was a failure to disclose a known material risk of a proposed procedure and that such failure was a proximate cause of (his/her) injury.  In order to find proximate cause in this context, you must find that a disclosure of the material risks of the proposed procedure would have resulted in a decision by a reasonably prudent person in the patientís position not to submit to the proposed procedure.  The particular patientís reaction, had (he/she) received the information as to the risks involved, is not the governing one with respect to the duty to inform.  The standard is what a reasonably prudent person in the patientís position would have decided if suitably informed of all material risks.

Authority

Godwin v. Danbury Eye Physicians & Surgeons, P.C., 254 Conn. 131, 143 (2000); Logan v. Greenwich Hospital Assn., 191 Conn. 282, 287-95 (1983); Hammer v. Mount Sinai Hospital, 25 Conn. App. 702, 711-12, cert. denied, 220 Conn. 933 (1991).

Notes

If the charge addresses other counts of medical malpractice, the jury should be informed that the count of informed consent is governed by the lay standard of disclosure and that, unlike the law governing medical malpractice, there is no requirement that the standard in question or its breach be established by expert testimony.
 


 

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