Medicolegal Aspects of Complications
Adverse events or outcomes are unwelcome occurrences. Unfortunately, adverse events will likely occur sometime during the physician’s lifetime in the practice of medicine. The possibility of such an event should be taken into account when planning and discussing treatment. Patients should be advised about the possibility of adverse events during the process of informed consent. An adverse event may occur despite all appropriate precautions being taken by the treating physician, but some adverse events are clearly preventable. An adverse event may trigger a malpractice action by a patient or patient’s family. This chapter will discuss the informed consent process, adverse events, malpractice claims, and the physician’s role in documentation and disclosure. The information that has been provided in this chapter is based on a review of publications on the subject. It should not be construed as legal advice. If as a healthcare provider you are involved in a legal case, get the direct advice of a risk manager or a lawyer.
This chapter greatly benefited from the input of David Sheuerman, JD, who provided helpful suggestions before the chapter was written and editorial comments of the draft of the chapter.
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