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Emma Fitzgibbon has been published in the Australian Health Law Bulletin

RK Lawyer Emma Fitzgibbon has had an article published in the Australian Health Law Bulletin titled 'Guidance on the fluidity of capacity in elderly patients in relation to the provision of informed consent for surgery'.

A recent Victorian coronial inquest by Coroner Phillip Byrne (the Coroner) into the death of Reginald John Brooks following surgical intervention for a fractured neck of femur and subsequent cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) provides some insight into the complexities around the provision of informed consent with elderly patients. 

Based on the evidence of the experienced health practitioners and reliant upon their detailed notes, the Coroner concluded that “although confused at times, at the relevant time [Mr Brooks] had the capacity to consent to surgery; his documented consent was in my view, an informed consent”.

This is a significant statement from the Coroner, as it demonstrates that, despite the presentation of dementia, confusion, and cognitive decline, an assessment as to capacity and the provision of informed consent is determined on a case by case, and can vary on a day by day basis.

Read the full article here.

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