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Am J Speech Lang Pathol. 2016 Nov 1;25(4):453-469. doi: 10.1044/2016_AJSLP-15-0041.

Consent, Refusal, and Waivers in Patient-Centered Dysphagia Care: Using Law, Ethics, and Evidence to Guide Clinical Practice.

Author information

1
Communication Sciences and Disorders, School of Rehabilitation and Communication Sciences, College of Health Sciences and Professions, Ohio University, Athens.
2
Individual Interdisciplinary Program, Graduate College, Ohio University, Athens.

Abstract

Purpose:

When patients refuse medical or rehabilitation procedures, waivers of liability have been used to bar future lawsuits. The purpose of this tutorial is to review the myriad issues surrounding consent, refusal, and waivers. The larger goal is to invigorate clinical practice by providing clinicians with knowledge of ethics and law. This tutorial is for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.

Method:

The authors use a hypothetical case of a "noncompliant" individual under the care of an interdisciplinary neurorehabilitation team to illuminate the ethical and legal features of the patient-practitioner relationship; the elements of clinical decision-making capacity; the duty of disclosure and the right of informed consent or informed refusal; and the relationship among noncompliance, defensive practices, and iatrogenic harm. We explore the legal question of whether waivers of liability in the medical context are enforceable or unenforceable as a matter of public policy.

Conclusions:

Speech-language pathologists, among other health care providers, have fiduciary and other ethical and legal obligations to patients. Because waivers try to shift liability for substandard care from health care providers to patients, courts usually find waivers of liability in the medical context unenforceable as a matter of public policy.

PMID:
27820871
DOI:
10.1044/2016_AJSLP-15-0041
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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