Luke Savage

While implied consent would apply to many actions in a doctor’s office (history taking, doing a blood pressure or basic exam, prescription refills), documenting this consent on every visit would be onerous and add significantly to the administrative burden. Defining medical emergency for which informed consent is not required as ‘demonstrable severe suffering,” and for which treatment is required to “prevent prolonged suffering” opens the door for all sorts of abuses, including physician assisted suicide/MAiD when capacity has been lost. How is “suffering” defined? Who decides? Indeed, one could argue that in order to prevent prolonged suffering in almost any condition, a physician could proceed without consent for virtually any medication adjustment or treatment. In order to protect vulnerable patients who cannot give consent, medical emergency should be limited to “immanent threat to the life of the patient”. And treatments “to those necessary to deal with imminent threats to life, limb or health.”

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