Informed Consent: Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics in Cancer Claims – Gilberds v. Sobey

by John McKiggan

I read an interesting decision out of Alberta recently, Gilberds v. Sobey that deals with informed consent to medical treatment and whether statistical information should be given to patients to help them determine if they will undergo treatment.

The case is interesting (at least to those of us doing medical malpractice litigation) because it also touches on the issues of what medical malpractice claimants need to prove to win their claims and the standard of care in medical malpractice claims.

Justice Ross pointed out the importance of statistical evidence at paragraph 81 of her decision:

I agree with Ferrier J. that effective communication of treatment risks requires some information on the probability of a particular result: Matuzich v. Lieberman. The degree of probability of a risk is obviously relevant to reasonable patients considering whether they want to undergo treatment; indeed the degree of probability is one of the factors that qualifies a risk as material.

I go into more detail about the facts of the decision and it’s importance to medical malpractice claims on my Atlantic Canada Personal Injury Lawyer Blog.

What Do You Think?

Would you rather have your doctor explain the risks of a medical procedure with statistics? Or would you rather the doctor just tell you about “possible” and “probable” risks? Let me know by posting a comment, either here or on the Atlantic Canada Personal Injury Lawyer Blog.

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