LEGAL QUESTIONS: One in a million

August 2004 
Volume 34  Number 8
Pages 29 - 29
  PDF Version Available!

© 2004 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc. Volume 34(8)             August 2004             p 29 One in a million [LEGAL QUESTIONS: INFORMED CONSENT]


I've been an RN for just under a year, and someone recently told me about a case that has me wondering. I know that asking for a patient's informed consent means telling him the risks and benefits of a procedure—but lots of procedures and treatments carry a small risk of death to a tiny percentage of those who undergo them. If a procedure is known to kill, say, one in 1 million patients who undergo it and the practitioner tells the patient only about the more common, mild adverse effects, could the practitioner—or the nurse—be held liable for not obtaining truly informed consent if the patient dies? —J.W., N.C.

The practitioner is responsible for describing the significant risks ...

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