Outpatient Surgery Magazine - Subscribers

Secrets to Speedier Room Turnover - November 2013 - Outpatient Surgery Magazine

Outpatient Surgery Magazine, providing current information on Surgical Services, Surgical Facility Administration, Outpatient Surgery News and Trends, OR Excellence and more.

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Page 26 of 156

OSE_1311_part1_Layout 1 11/6/13 8:56 AM Page 27 MEDICAL MALPRACTICE are filled in based on whatever procedure the patient is consenting to, and many hospitals and surgical centers continue to do just that. That way, there's also no risk that the wrong form will be given to the patient. And yes, the generic form says the patient has acknowledged discussing the condition, the proposed treatment, alternative treatments, and the risks and benefits. But the reality is that patients often forget that they've signed such a form, let alone every detail that came up in preliminary conversations with the physician. Contact between the doctor and patient is often brief, and a year later, if a case is filed, neither is likely to remember much of what was said. In the absence of an explicit consent form, a jury may be asked to choose between a patient who's experienced a complication about which he recalls no warning, and a physician who says she customarily informs patients about all foreseeable risks and complications, but who doesn't specifically recall what she told this patient. Needless to say, juries don't always come down on the physician's side in such instances. Note, too, that while the practitioner generally has the primary exposure for cases involving informed consent, the facility may also have exposure on a vicarious liability theory. Burden of uncertainty How explicit should consent forms be? The essence of a useful statement on operative risk includes a statement that all invasive procedures involve risk and some can be serious enough to cause serious disability or death on rare occasions. If you include a list of major risks, including anesthesia complications, hemorrhage, infection, scarring and adjacent tissue injury requiring subsequent surgical management, you can also add a statement to the effect that there may also be other risks, perhaps not yet even identified, which occur very infrequently. If one or more features of the N O V E M B E R 2013 | O U T PAT I E N T S U R G E R Y M A G A Z I N E O N L I N E 2 7

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