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Practical Legal Comments on Informed Consent

David M. Cook, JD
Arch Intern Med. 1997;157(15):1766-1769. doi:10.1001/archinte.1997.00440360208024.
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I read the article entitled "Legal and Ethical Myths About Informed Consent"1 with great interest, from the standpoint of a lawyer specializing for the past 20 years in the defense of medical malpractice claims against physicians, hospitals, and other health care providers in Memphis, Tenn, and its environs.

To my knowledge, there has never been a judgment against a defendant/physician in the State of Tennessee predicated solely on a theory of failure to provide the information required to procure informed consent. Implied in the concept of informed consent and the body of law that has grown up around it is the proposition that the plaintiff must testify convincingly that, had he or she known of the precise risk that did in fact occur, the procedure would have been deferred. If there is any sort of documentation that the patient has been advised of the possibility of something even as


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