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After the Diagnosis… Difficult Issues in Patient Consent. An Examination of Issues Involved in Informed Consent, Advanced Directives & Surrogate Decision Makers . By: Barron P. Bogatto . Patient Consent is an Evolving Doctrine. (Original Historical Basis for Patient Consent).

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after the diagnosis difficult issues in patient consent

After the Diagnosis…Difficult Issues in Patient Consent

An Examination of Issues Involved in Informed Consent, Advanced Directives & Surrogate Decision Makers

By: Barron P. Bogatto

patient consent is an evolving doctrine
Patient Consent is an Evolving Doctrine

(Original Historical Basis for Patient Consent)

  • Battery – an unauthorized touching or invasion of a person’s body.
  • If patient gives permission, no battery exists.
  • Originally, consent was either given or it was not.
codification of legal requirements for informed consent
Codification of Legal Requirements for Informed Consent

(Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code)

  • 1977 - Medical Liability and Insurance Improvement Act
  • 2003 – Codification in Chapter 74, subchapter C of Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code
patient consent required now informed consent
Patient Consent Required:Now “Informed” Consent

(Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code § 74.101)

  • Basically, Texas law requires that a physician disclose the risks and hazards of certain procedures to a patient when obtaining consent.
informed consent becomes a negligence issue
Informed Consent Becomes a Negligence Issue

(Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code § 74.101)

  • Statue provides that:
    • “…the only theory on which recovery may be obtained is that of negligence in failing to disclose the risks or hazards that could have influenced a reasonable person in making a decision to give or withhold consent.”

(emphasis added)

whose duty to obtain informed consent
Whose duty to obtain informed consent?
  • It’s the Physician’s duty
    • Physician performing procedure or prescribing treatment
    • Not necessarily a referring physician’s duty

It cannot be delegated!

  • Nurses and hospital staff
    • Assist
    • Act in ministerial capacity
which procedures require disclosure of potential risks and hazards
Which procedures require disclosure of potential risks and hazards?

(Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code §§ 74.102-74.103)

  • Texas law creates the Texas Medical Disclosure Panel to determine the risks and hazards to be disclosed
  • The panel is composed of 9 members chosen by the Commissioner of Health
    • 3 attorneys
    • 6 physicians
texas medical disclosure panel lists
Texas Medical Disclosure Panel Lists

(Texas Administrative Code Chapter 601)

The Medical Disclosure Panel prepares lists of medical treatments and surgical procedures that do and do not require disclosure, the degree of disclosure, and the form of disclosure.

lists continued
Lists (continued)
  • List A requires full disclosure.
  • List B requires no disclosure.
  • The Panel also provides some model disclosure forms.
  • Lists in Texas Administrative Code, accessible on Internet at www.sos.state.tx.us
examples of disclosure from the lists
Examples of disclosure from the lists
  • List A example:

The disclosure of risks and hazards for epidural anesthesia include:

    • Persistent back pain,
    • Bleeding/epidural hematoma,
    • Infection
    • Potential to convert to a general anesthetic if the block fails or the procedure outlasts the block, and
    • Brain damage
examples continued
Examples (continued)
  • List B examples of procedures that do not require disclosure of risks and hazards include:
    • Local anesthesia,
    • Appendectomy,
    • Suture of skin, and
    • Lung biopsy
hypothetical list c
Hypothetical “List C”
  • Lists A and B are not all-inclusive.
  • For any procedures not included in Lists A or B, duty of disclosure is as “otherwise imposed by law”
  • Disclosure is only required to the extent that risks or hazards could have influenced a reasonable person in making a decision to give or withhold consent.
  • Standard based on the expectations of a reasonable patient.
  • Not permissible for physician to withhold relevant information to protect the patient’s sensitivities.
what constitutes a valid informed consent for list a procedures
What constitutes a valid informed consent for List A procedures?

(Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code § 74.105)

Effective consent must be:

  • in writing,
  • signed by the patient or person authorized to give consent,
  • signed by a competent witness, and
  • specifically state the risks and hazards to degree required by the Disclosure Panel.
consent forms created by disclosure panel
Consent forms created by Disclosure Panel

(25 Texas Administrative Code)

  • General Disclosure and Consent (§601.4)
  • Radiation Therapy (§ 601.5)
  • Electroconvulsive Therapy (§ 601.7)
  • Hysterectomy (§ 601.8)
  • Additionally, for patient contemplating an abortion
    • Must provide informational material created by Texas Department of Health (TDH)
    • Prior to abortion procedure, patient must sign informed consent form created by TDH
hypothetical list c only material risks must be disclosed
Hypothetical List C – Only “material” risks must be disclosed

(Barclay v. Campbell, 704 S.W.2d 8 (Tex. 1986)

  • Risk must be:
    • Inherent to the procedure, and
    • Type that could influence the person’s decision
  • Focus on hypothetical “reasonable” patient
    • Case-by-case analysis
    • 1 in 1,000,000 risk
    • 1 in 1,000
    • Gray area in between???
best practices for list c disclosure
Best Practices for “List C” Disclosure
  • Put disclosure in writing
  • Have witnessed by at least one competent person
  • Err on side of caution and over disclosure
informed refusal
Informed Refusal
  • A variation of informed consent
  • Focus is not on risks but on benefits
  • Again, show the patient’s decision to decline was based on full understanding of all facts necessary to make that decision.
6 components to informed refusal
6 Components to Informed Refusal
  • Describe treatment or procedure
  • Identify reasons treatment has been offered
  • Identify potential benefits
  • Note patient has been told of risks of not accepting the treatment
  • Clearly document the patient has unequivocally and without condition, declined the treatment
  • Identify why the patient refused, particularly if decision was rational
capacity competency
Capacity/Competency

(Texas Health and Safety Code § 166.002)

Why is competency important?

  • A patient must be competent in order to give informed consent.
  • If patient is not competent, consent must be obtained from a surrogate decision maker.
how is competency defined under texas law
How is competency defined under Texas law?

(Texas Health and Safety Code § 166.002)

  • The ability, based on reasonable medical judgment, to understand and appreciate the nature and consequences of a treatment decision, including:
    • significant benefits and harms of, and
    • reasonable alternatives to a proposed treatment decision.
other considerations regarding competency
Other Considerations Regarding Competency
  • Determination is made at the time when the procedure is explained to the patient and is almost always made by physician.
  • Presumption of competency.
  • Determination of competency is a subjective decision.
  • Competency may change.
    • A patient may be competent one day, hour, or minute) and not the next.
hendrick administrative policy
Hendrick Administrative Policy
  • Hendrick Medical Center Policy regarding informed consent and competency
  • Administrative Policy 6010-1.
advanced directives
Advanced Directives

(Texas Health and Safety Code Title 2, Subtitle H, Chapter 166)

There are three types of advanced

directives:

  • Directive to Physician
  • Out-of-Hospital DNR Order
  • Medical Power of Attorney
directive to physician
Directive to Physician

(Texas Health and Safety Code §166.031)

  • An instruction… to administer, withhold, or withdraw life-sustaining treatment in the event of a terminal or irreversible condition.
out of hospital dnr order
Out-of-Hospital DNR Order

(Texas Health and Safety Code §166.081)

  • A legally binding out-of hospital do-not-resuscitate order, in form specified by the Texas Board of Health
  • Prepared and signed by attending physician
  • Documents the instructions of the person (or their legal rep) to direct health care professionals in out-of-hospital setting not to initiate or continue specified life-sustaining treatments:
specified life sustaining treatments
Specified Life Sustaining Treatments
  • Cardiopulmonary resuscitation,
  • Advanced airway management,
  • Artificial ventilation,
  • Defibrillation,
  • Transcutaneous cardiac pacing,
  • Other life-sustaining treatment specified by Board under §166.101, and
slide27
Does not include authorization to withhold medical interventions or therapies necessary to provide
    • comfort or care
    • Alleviate pain
    • Provide water or nutrition
medical power of attorney
Medical Power of Attorney

(Texas Health and Safety Code §§ 166.151 – 166.166)

  • Designates an agent who will make health care decisions for the patient (the “principal”) if the principal becomes incompetent
  • Disclosure statement required before executing a medical power of attorney
  • Principal’s physician must certify in the principal’s medical record that he/she is incompetent
patient s decision still controls
Patient’s decision still controls

(Texas Health and Safety Code §§ 166.152)

Even if the principal is incompetent and there is a medical power of attorney, no treatment may be given or withheld over the principal’s objection.

what are the requirements of a medical power of attorney
What are the requirements of a medical power of attorney?

(Texas Health and Safety Code §§ 166.154)

It must be:

  • in writing,
  • signed by the principal,
  • signed by two witnesses, and
  • at least one witness must be a disinterested party.
persons who may not serve as agent
Persons who may not serve as agent:

(Texas Health and Safety Code §§ 166.153)

  • The principal’s health care provider
  • An employee of the principal’s health care provider, unless that person is a relative of the principal
procedures that agent cannot consent to on behalf of the principal
Procedures that agent cannot consent to on behalf of the principal:

(Texas Health and Safety Code §§ 166.152)

  • voluntary inpatient mental health services,
  • convulsive treatment,
  • psychosurgery,
  • abortion, and
  • neglect of the principal through the omission of care.
can the health care provider be held liable for following an agent s instructions
Can the health care provider be held liable for following an agent’s instructions?

(Texas Health and Safety Code §§ 166.160)

  • A health care provider is not subject to criminal or civil liability for an act or omission that:

1) is done in good faith,

2) in accordance with the medical power of attorney, the directives of the agent, and the provisions of the Health and Safety Code, and

3) does not constitute a failure to exercise reasonable care.

revoking a medical power of attorney
Revoking a Medical Power of Attorney

(Texas Health and Safety Code §§166.155)

  • By notice of principal’s intent to revoke or by execution of a new medical power of attorney
  • Notice can be either to agent or health care provider
  • Principal does not need to be competent to revoke
hendrick administrative policy35
Hendrick Administrative Policy
  • Hendrick Medical Center Policy regarding Advance Directives
  • Covered in Administrative Policy 8310-23.
recommended best practices
Recommended Best Practices
  • Communication
  • Identify barriers to informed consent
  • Educational materials
  • Written consent
  • Chart documentation
communication
Communication
  • Be sure to have a detailed discussion of the treatment or procedure.
  • Cover risks, expected outcome, and alternatives.
  • Give the patient the opportunity to ask questions.
  • Make sure the patient understands what was just explained to him/her.
barriers to informed consent
Barriers to “Informed” Consent
  • Impaired mental status
  • Language
    • NOTE: 2 procedures require bilingual consent
      • hysterectomy
      • abortion
  • Illiteracy
  • Disability
  • Overly complex forms
educational materials
Educational Materials

Provide patients with additional materials giving them more information on the procedure or treatment:

  • Pamphlets
  • Brochures
  • Package inserts
  • PDR - Physicians Desk Reference
  • Videotapes/closed circuit videos
written consent
Written consent
  • Have all consent in writing and witnessed by appropriate individuals.
  • If worth having a signed consent, its worth having a witness.
chart documentation
Chart Documentation
  • Include heavy documentation in the patient’s medical chart.
  • Include details of the conversation and the procedures discussed.
  • Include notes regarding the patient’s competency at the time of the discussion.
  • Possibly include signatures of witnesses, agents, nurses, etc.
after the diagnosis difficult issues in patient consent42

After the Diagnosis…Difficult Issues in Patient Consent

An Examination of Issues Involved in Informed Consent, Advanced Directives & Surrogate Decision Makers

By: Barron P. Bogatto