Make sure you have read all of the assigned readings. Discuss the questions
presented below and follow directions
1.Review the case Informed Consent in Louisiana – Lugenbuhl v. Dowling.
2.First, identify the elements of the legal citation- plaintiff, defendant, court,
location of case etc.
3.Explain the meaning and importance of the doctrine of informed consent.
4.Discuss why we have this doctrine and what would happen if we did not.
5.Discuss the two elements that must be present for informed consent to exist
under the law.
6.In a legal case of negligence and liability explain why the basis for negligence
may be battery, unconsented touching, or breach of a duty imposed on the doctor to
disclose material information.
7.Explain the elements that must be present for a patient to give informed consent.
Informed consent goes beyond just signing a piece of paper to the level that there must
be a clear discussion between the patient and the medical professional in order to reach an
understanding. Disclosure of the medical health history by a patient forms a greater part of
informed consent. In the Lugenbuhl v Dowling case, the surgeon got the patient’s consent and
gave and assurance that he would use the surgical mesh. The surgeon, however, went against
this promise and never used it. While undertaking the operation, the surgeon thought that all
would be well besides the change in plans, but unfortunately, things didn’t work out as he had
planned. His patient who had intracostal incisional hernia sued him for going against the
informed consent. During whole hearings of the case, the charges were separated into medical
malpractice and the lack of informed consent. During the case, however, there was no sufficient
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evidence that the surgeon had gone against informed consent by not using the mesh as the
plaintiff did not have the vital causation element. The medical evidence showed no case of
violation on the healthcare by Dr. Dowling (Eonas, McCoy, & Eaton, 2010).
In the case, the Plaintiff was the concerned patient, DR. John Downing who was a
professional surgeon was the Defendant. The case was heard on 10 th October 1997. It was filled
in the Supreme Court of Louisiana.
Informed consent is a legal process that ensures that the client, patient or the researcher
are well informed about the potential dangers or risk and cost that comes with a medical
process. The elements of informed consent include available alternative medical care, potential
benefits, awareness about the nature of treatment and the treatment risks. For instances where a
patient might not be able to make the consent, then a legal representative can be involved. It
forms a bigger part towards satisfaction of medical attention as patients are part of the process
(Faden, Beauchamp, & Kass, 2014). Informed consent serve as a guide to the physician when
making great decisions concerning the health of the patient.
The lack of informed consent can lead to many malpractices by the medical
professionals during the provision of healthcare services. The healthcare professionals will
have the freedom of administering any kind of medication on their clients without seeking their
opinion. Informed consent, however, restricts them to always heed the patient’s need as going
against it can lead to various legal implications. Through informed consent, a patient can fully
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participate in decisions that concern his or her life and in turn leads to them adopting a healthy
way of living (Faden, Beauchamp, & Kass, 2014).
The existence of informed consent under the law relies on two concepts. First, there
should be a statement concerning the consequences that will occur in the event that the client
decides not to proceed with the procedure. In the event that withdrawal from the procedure
might cause some effects on the health of the patient, then there should be a clear explanation
of the required withdrawal procedures in order to uphold patient safety (Tsai, Orav, & Jha,
2015). This will give an opportunity to the patient to make a decision on whether to withdraw
or not, knowing the consequences that will accompany the option they will opt for. Secondly,
there should be an explanation that the medical procedure involves some risks which might not
be evident at the moment. Such risks must be explained by the medical professional as the
patient might not be able to recognize such effects. Ensuring that the patient clearly
understands the risk before undertaking a treatment is more paramount than just informing
The basis of negligence might be considered as a battery if the doctor’s unconsented
procedure amounts to the batter. The law does not protect any medical procedure which is
performed outside the informed consent as it is considered as the legally permissible procedure.
Breach of duty would occur when evidence prove that the defendant had a responsibility
towards the plaintiff which was not upheld. Such cases would mean that the defendant exposed
the plaintiff to loss.
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In order for the patient to provide informed consent, quite a number of factors must be
present. To start with, the patient should be in the correct state of mind in order to voluntarily
make decisions at that moment. The patient needs to be well informed that besides the paper
they are signing they need to make a personal decision from their heart. The medical
professional should act as a guide to the patient in the quest of reaching an informed consent
through the provision of advice on the best alternative decisions in order for the patient to
understand what is at stake. The professional should use simple terms and language in order to
make sure that the patient clearly comprehends what is being said. The consent should also
cover the following parts: it should provide reasonable alternatives, risks, and benefits,
assessment of the patient’s understanding and the patient’s acceptance to undergo the medical
procedure. In the case where a better alternative exists, then the medical professional needs to
take the patient through the option convincing him or her to opt for that alternative.
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Eonas, A., McCoy, J. D., & Eaton, S. H. (2006). Medical informed consent: clarity or
confusion?. Journal of hospital marketing & public relations, 16(1-2), 69-88.
Faden, R. R., Beauchamp, T. L., & Kass, N. E. (2014). Informed consent, comparative
effectiveness, and learning health care. N Engl J Med, 370(8), 766-768.
Tsai, T. C., Orav, E. J., & Jha, A. K. (2015). Patient satisfaction and quality of surgical care in
US hospitals. Annals of surgery, 261(1), 2.