Treating stroke patients with a poor prognosis - What's law got to do with it?

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Devereux, JA
Cordato, DJ
Beran, RG
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2016
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Abstract

Background: Clinicians treating stroke often are unfamiliar with the legal imperatives applicable to enforced or expected treatments as compared with refusal to provide intervention considered to be contrary to the patient’s best interests. Aims: Review of the legal framework accompanying the treatment of severe stroke. Methods: Legal medicine imperatives of treatment sought by a patient or their relatives, considered to be inappropriate and not in the patient’s best interests, were analysed. Results: A stroke physician who does not provide treatment to a patient with a severe stroke has no liability in negligence if a representative group of medical practitioners, in the field of stroke management, also would not have offered this treatment. Even if a relative or patient is able to demonstrate that a reasonable doctor would have provided such treatment, it is only if failure to have done so caused damage to the patient, that liability will sound in negligence. There is also an argument that treatment provided which has no clinical benefit for the patient exposes the practitioner to the risk of liability in battery, because that consented to (therapeutic medical treatment) was different to that which was performed.

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Medicine and Law
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35
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4
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Subject
Law in context
Social Sciences
Law
Government & Law
Stroke Treatment
Negligence
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Citation
Devereux, JA; Cordato, DJ; Beran, RG, Treating stroke patients with a poor prognosis - What's law got to do with it?, Medicine and Law, 2016, 35 (4), pp. 593-604
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