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Posted 27 October 2016
by Stuart Bramley

Doctors advised to let patients decide on treatment or risk being sued.

Referring to the article in the Daily Mail Online, Clinical negligence partner Stuart Bramley writes –

“If this advice is properly adopted across the NHS it will be long overdue. My team and I regularly see instances of patients who have suffered because they were not given enough information to choose between alternative treatments or types of surgery, and only later learned that a different decision would have led to a different outcome. I am handling one claim at present where a baby was left permanently disabled because her pregnant mother was not given enough detail to allow her a decision between natural birth and a Caesarean and if the latter had been carried out, the injury would have been entirely avoided. The Montgomery claim referred to in the Daily Mail article should now lead to different principles being applied. The vast majority of doctors, nurses and midwives excel at obtaining proper consent, so that the patient is fully informed of the risks and benefits of, and alternatives to, what treatment is being proposed but the consent-based legal claims Tozers handle illustrate that there is still too much of a ‘doctor knows best’ approach. In the real world it is unlikely that every patient will have a 40-minute discussion before a procedure is performed but notwithstanding that, any renewed focus on proper consenting can only be a good thing”.

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About the author

Stuart Bramley

Partner and Solicitor

Partner and solicitor with over 25 years' experience of medical claims and inquests