Capitelli & Wicker’s plaintiff medical malpractice team won a substantial decision before the Louisiana Supreme Court that will protect patients pursuing medical negligence claims.
Specifically, the Louisiana Supreme Court reversed the Louisiana Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal and held that evidence regarding “informed consent”–– consent to the known risks of a procedure that occur in the absence of negligence––was properly excluded where the plaintiff did not allege a cause of action for lack of informed consent.
Read on to learn more about the case from our team of experienced New Orleans-based attorneys.
Medical Negligence v. Informed Consent in Louisiana
Louisiana law sets out medical negligence, or a breach of the standard of medical care, as a separate cause of action from the lack of informed consent. Capitelli & Wicker argued that the statutory scheme underscores the fact that while a patient may consent to the known risks of surgery that may occur without negligence, a patient never consents to negligent medical care.
Despite this statutory scheme, and even if a patient is not alleging a lack of informed consent, defendant healthcare providers often attempt to introduce evidence of “informed consent.”
Pointing to the Louisiana statutory scheme, Capitelli & Wicker argued that this evidence is not probative where a plaintiff is not alleging a lack of informed consent cause of action and “informed consent” evidence presents a dangerous risk of jurors believing that a patient consented to injury caused by negligent medical care.
In French v. Quality Nighthawk Teleradiology Group, Inc., the Louisiana Supreme Court agreed. The court found that any potential probative value of “informed consent” evidence is substantially outweighed by its prejudicial effect.
What Will This Decision Mean for Medical Malpractice Cases in Louisiana?
This particular issue is regularly raised in medical malpractice cases, but before this decision, the Louisiana Supreme Court had not addressed it.
This decision is likely to have a significant impact on future medical malpractice cases in Louisiana by setting a precedent that supports the exclusion of such evidence when a lack of informed consent is not part of the plaintiff’s claim. It provides clarity and guidance on this issue, which will help in protecting the rights of patients pursuing medical negligence claims in the state.
For more information, contact Capitelli & Wicker medical malpractice attorneys.