Practice of Medicine

Article

Informed Consent – State of Arkansas

By Alan Wooten

May 13, 2015

Informed Consent is a process that leads to shared decision making between the patient and the provider. The form signed by the patient serves as confirmation that the process has taken place. Often, a procedure-specific form is better because it explains the risks and benefits discussed for the proposed treatment more clearly than a general one.

Arkansas has a specific statute ACA Code 16-114-206 (b) related to informed consent in medical malpractice actions: “Where a plaintiff claims a medical care provider failed to supply adequate information to obtain the informed consent of the injured person, the plaintiff shall have the burden of proving that the treatment, procedure or surgery would customarily have been given to a patient by other medical care providers with similar training and experience at the time of the treatment, procedure or surgery in the locality in which the medical care provider practices or in a similar locality.”

There is also a specific statute in Arkansas for informed consent concerning gastric bypass surgery, ACA Code 17-95-108.  The code requires the physician to inform the patient in writing of the known risks and complications of the following: 1) the surgery itself; 2) all known and documented future complications that may occur as a result of the procedure; 3) the side effects that may result from vitamin deficiency and malnutrition and 4) the requirements for appropriate follow up.

Although healthcare providers may think of informed consent in the context of procedures, equal consideration should be given to any treatment recommendation that carries high severity or high frequency risks, also known as “material risks”.  Material risks include those that have a high severity or a high frequency. For the less serious risks, a rough rule of thumb could be if the risk event occurs in 3% of the cases; for the more serious risks, 1% would be sufficient[1]

  [1] Malpractice: Your Informed Consent May Not Be Good Enough. Medscape, Feb.10, 2011

 

 

Author: Alan Wooten is a medical malpractice attorney with the firm of Conner & Winters LLP, Fayetteville, AR

 

Disclaimer This Advisory is not a comprehensive analysis of every treatment or procedure that may be addressed in the Arkansas Informed Consent law .Please consult with your personal attorney or the Arkansas State Medical Board, if you have specific questions.

Disclaimer

The information provided in this resource does not constitute legal, medical or any other professional advice, nor does it establish a standard of care. This resource has been created as an aid to you in your practice. The ultimate decision on how to use the information provided rests solely with you, the PolicyOwner.