The ruling on informed consent might burden physicians

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Patient engagement is a part of empowering the patient in his curing process. Now, a Pennsylvania legal decision about informed decision might burden physicians. It might also sideline other healthcare professionals from the entire procedure of assisting patients to understand the risks and benefits of a treatment. This is the view of lawyers who studied the case in question- Shinal v Toms. 

In the Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision, it was ruled that a physician may not fulfill through an intermediary the responsibility to provide necessary information to obtain the patient’s informed consent. Holly Fernandez Lynch, JD, MBE, and colleagues from the Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine in Philadelphia, studied the impact of this decision. 

Lynch and colleagues mentioned in an article that published in the New England Journal of Medicine that the court’s insistence that treating physician should personally provide all consent related disclosures is an anachronism in a healthcare system that is based on teamwork.

They also believe that physicians should spend time on specialized tasks, while the other team members can participate in the consent process.