INFORMED CONSENT TEN YEARS LATER: THE IMPACT OF REIBL V. HUGHES
AbstractIn 1980 the Supreme Court of Canada introduced major doctrinal changes in the law of informed consent in its decision in Reibl v. Hughes. This article assesses the significance of that decision by examining its impact in a number of areas. Based on an analysis of 117 cases since Reibl, the article concludes that the decision has had very little impact on the frequency and severity of malpractice claims. Reibl has also had little impact on legal developments in other areas of health law or in jurisdictions outside Canada, and its effect on medical practice remains unclear. The article concludes that the true significance of Reibl may lie in its symbolic importance as reflecting a fundamental change in the doctor-patient relationship and the power and authority underlying that relationship.
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