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  Patient Safety No Longer the Focus of Informed Consent Law
 
Statement of Jeffrey Pitman, President, Wisconsin Association for Justice  
on the Passage of AB-139 in the State Assembly
 
The Wisconsin Association for Justice (WAJ) is surprised and disappointed by the State Assembly's passage of AB-139 because it fails to put patient knowledge and patient safety first and sadly will not hold doctors accountable for not informing patients of available treatment alternatives and diagnoses that might have saved their lives.  Patients, not doctors, should be in charge of making their own decisions regarding their health with information provided by their physician.  Anything less would just be bad medicine. 
 
The patient's right to know has been the focus of Wisconsin's Informed Consent law for almost 40 years.  AB-139 changes the focus.  WAJ believes the decision to undertake a medical treatment or procedure belongs to the patient, not the physician, with the focus remaining on the needs of the patient, not the professed or preferred needs of the physician.  
 
Currently, Wisconsin law requires patients be informed about alternate life-saving treatment options.  AB-139 reverses this requirement and allows doctors to withhold treatment options if the doctor doesn't believe the patient has a specific medical condition.  This change will mean that patients and their families will not have to be told of potential life-saving treatment options, even if the physician reaches an incorrect diagnosis.  

The Legislature should not be changing a patient safety standard that has worked well for informing patients on treatment options in order to make intelligent and reasoned decisions regarding their own medical care.
 
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The Mission of the Wisconsin Association for Justice is to promote a fair and effective 
justice system - one that ensures justice for all, not just a privileged few.

 

 

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