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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 35 of 122

has never shielded physicians from accusations of negligence or harm that occurs through negligence. From a public policy standpoint, there was already more than adequate protection afforded to patients. But now, in the absence of properly obtained informed consent, any touching of a patient that hasn't been consented to can be considered battery, which opens the door to a scenario in which physicians potentially face liability for non-negligent harm that's an inherent risk to a given procedure. Hence, the ruling has created a new and differ- ent duty and obligation that never previously existed. Will it stand the test of time? Hard to say. I do think it will be chal- lenged, and my best guess is it will turn out to be an anomaly. But at least for now, it bears watching. From a practical standpoint, it may create another impediment to quality health care. Many physicians are already being pulled in count- less directions, trying to handle not just clinical responsibilities, but also duties related to administration, teaching, committees, technolo- gy, EHRs, insurance, coding and compliance. A ruling like this has the potential to impact efficiency and throughput by altering resource allocation. A physician who planned to see 10 patients in a given day may have to turn 2 or 3 away because of the time needed to personal- ly handle a lengthy informed consent discussion. The bottom line: Speaking to a smart, well-educated, experienced associate no longer suffices. OSM Mr. Villalobos (rmvillalobos67@icloud.com) is a member of the Eckert Seamans law firm in Philadelphia, Pa. He has extensive experience in health law, professional liability and physician misconduct cases, among other areas of expertise. Medical Malpractice MM 3 6 • O U T PA T I E N T S U R G E R Y M A G A Z I N E • N O V E M B E R 2 0 1 7

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