Provided by: Jennifer Kirschenbaum, Esq.
We likely have met at a society event, perhaps one I serve as counsel to. That may have been where you signed up for this newsletter. At that event, I may have may have participated as an audience member in case presentations or a professional lecture. Over the years I've had the opportunity to view all sorts of presentations. During a recent surgical society event a worthwhile topic came up that entered the medico-legal realm, which was, when pioneering new techniques, how do you prevent liability? The answer may seem obvious to you, but likely not to all of your colleagues and the answer is to take the time to properly paper - paper with informed consents, paper with professional support for the service, paper with proper medical documentation of the services rendered.
Paper will make the difference and provide support should there be an adverse event when pioneering new techniques. An adverse event could be any negative patient outcome, including a positive medical outcome but negative patient experience. Perhaps objectively the procedure is a success but the patient is unhappy (even if unrealistically unhappy). Regardless, when pioneering a new technique or service (or rendering any service or advise for that matter...), and proceeding without recommended paper (i.e., a detailed informed consent, inclusive of potential side effects, alternative services, etc.) if challenged as deviating from standard of care at a later date, you will be in a significantly disadvantaged position. The more detailed the informed consent, the better.