Largey v. Rothman

110 N.J. 204, 540 A.2d 504 (1988)

 

RULE:

The "reasonable patient" or "prudent patient" standard is where informed consent gives rise to a duty on the part of a physician to warn of the dangers lurking in the proposed treatment and to impart information that the patient has every right to expect, as well as a duty of reasonable disclosure of the choices with respect to proposed therapy and the dangers inherently and potentially involved. The scope of the duty to disclose must be measured by the patient's need, and that need is the information material to the decision. The test for determining whether a particular peril must be divulged is its materiality to the patient's decision: all risks potentially affecting the decision must be unmasked. And to safeguard the patient's interest in achieving his own determination on treatment, the law must itself set the standard for adequate disclosure. 

FACTS:

The court remanded for a new trial after reversing the trial court's determination that plaintiff patient had consented to an operative procedure performed by defendant physician, and that the physician had not failed to provide her with sufficient information so that she could give informed consent. The court adopted a new standard, the "reasonable patient" or "prudent patient" standard, to determine the issue of a patient's informed consent to treatment and discarded the previous "reasonable physician" or "professional" standard. 

ISSUE:

Is “prudent patient” a determining standard as to whether informed consent was obtained before medical procedure?

ANSWER:

Yes.

CONCLUSION:

In New Jersey Courts, the “prudent patient” standard is the duty of physicians to inform their patients of the procedure or treatment to be done for them to be able to make an informed decision. The said doctrine should determine if the doctor obtained consent of the patient before the operation. The court remanded for a new trial after reversing the determination that defendant physician had not failed to provide plaintiff patient with sufficient information for her to give informed consent, and instructed the retrial to use the "reasonable patient" or "prudent patient" standard in resolving the issue of whether the risks would influence a prudent patient in deciding on whether to submit to surgery.

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