This chapter examines four elements that have the effect of narrowing a doctor’s duty to inform. They are “medical knowledge”, “the patient’s condition”, “materiality” and “causation”. First, the existence and availability of treatment options is subject to medical knowledge and medical judgment. Second, in a real-life scenario, the menu of treatment options is subject to consideration of a particular patient’s conditions and stage of illness. Third, a doctor only needs to disclose information about alternatives to which a reasonable person in the patient’s position would have attached importance or significance. Fourth, if the duty to inform about alternatives is explored in the tort context, the issue of “causation” always forms a formidable barrier to success. Conversely, this chapter also examines the circumstances which create the potential for broadening a doctor’s duty to inform about alternatives. These three circumstances are where procedures have an “elective” or “experimental” nature, or where the patient delivers an inquiry.


Information Disclosure Ethylene Diamine Tetra Acetic Acide Ethylene Diamine Tetra Acetic Acide Expert Testimony Materiality Test 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Xiju Zhao
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Law College of Social Science and HumanitiesShandong University of Traditional Chinese MedicineJinanP.R. China

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