Review article: Patients who leave before care is completed: What does the legal duty to warn mean for emergency department clinicians?

Michael Eburn, Tina Cockburn, Anne Maree Kelly

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

Patients leave ED for a variety of reasons and at all stages of care. In Australian law, clinicians and health services owe a duty of care to people presenting to the ED for care, even if they have not yet entered a treatment space. There is also a positive duty to warn patients of material risks associated with their condition, proposed treatment(s), reasonable alternative treatment options and the likely effect of their healthcare decisions, including refusing treatment. This extends to a decision to leave the ED before care is completed. The form of that warning may vary based on what is known about the patient's condition and the associated risks at the time. Specific documentation of warnings given is essential.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)336-339
Number of pages4
JournalEMA - Emergency Medicine Australasia
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - Apr 2024

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