Supreme Court holds that lack of informed consent is simple malpractice, not denial of an opportunity for better outcome.
The unanimous Michigan Supreme Court granted Deborah Compton's appeal and reversed a Court of Appeals' decision that would have virtually dismissed Compton's malpractice claim against Helen Pass, M.D., Jane Pettinga, M.D., and William Beaumont Hospital. Compton argued that the doctors did not provide her with an informed basis to consent to a more invasive treatment for breast cancer (removal of additional lymph nodes, resulting in axillary cording and lymphedema), and therefore commited malpractice in subjecting her to these complications without proper consent, in violation of the standard of care.
The Appeals Court had analyzed her case under a tortured construction that would have required her to meet legislative standards that were virtually impossible. All of the seven Supreme Court Justices agreed that her pleadings posed a simple medical malpractice question: did the doctors act in accordance with the prevailing standard of care in informing their patient; and if they did not, did she suffer injury as a result?