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Why McCarthy Law Office? When you need a lawyer, you need the best. For 25 years Scott McCarthy has helped people with family issues, litigate contract disputes, recover losses from injury and wrongful death and manage their mistakes. He is an experienced attorney who knows the system.  He has the passion, breadth of experience and knowledge, that gives his clients their best possible results. Scott has a reputation for sharp, honest evaluations, calling people back promptly, being on time to meetings and court appearances, meticulous preparation for trial and his desire to see their case through so his client's lives can continue on their best possible course forward.

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Raise your hand if the only reason you are reading this article is because I put the word "breasts" at the top. You should be ashamed of yourselves. I should be ashamed for such a cheap ploy to grab attention, but this is important information.

Ms. Brown went to a doctor in the Eau Claire area because she was concerned about a lump in her breast. Ms. Brown's family had a history for developing breast cancer. The doctor testified at trial that he told Ms. Brown treatment was premature because the radiologists felt that she did not have cancer. The doctor discussed the option of elective bilateral mastectomies but again informed Ms. Brown it was premature. The doctor testified he discussed other less intrusive options and discussed with Ms. Brown the cosmetic changes to her breasts that would occur as a result of the surgery.

Ms. Brown's testimony was completely different. She testified the doctor never informed her that the radiologists felt she did not have cancer. She also said the doctor did not discuss any other alternative treatments. The doctor ultimately performed the bilateral mastectomies.

As a result of the surgery, Ms. Brown had a number of cosmetic and other complications which required additional surgeries. Ms. Brown filed a lawsuit contending that the doctor never discussed alternative treatment options, misrepresented the effectiveness of bilateral mastectomies, and repeatedly told Ms. Brown she would be as aesthetically pleasing with post-operative surgery.

The jury found that the doctor was negligent in obtaining Ms. Brown's consent to surgery and that Ms. Brown would not have had the surgery if she would have been adequately informed. The jury also found Ms. Brown was negligent in failing to exercise ordinary care with regard to her own health and well being. The jury awarded Ms. Brown $150,000 in damages. The case went to the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court affirmed the $150,000 damage award. Wisconsin law requires doctors who treat patients to inform the patient about the availability of all alternate, viable medical modes of treatment and about the benefits and risks of those treatments. The doctor is NOT required to give:

  1. Information beyond what a reasonably well-qualified physician in a similar medical classification would know.
  2. Detailed technical information that in all probability a patient would not understand.\
  3. Risks apparent or known to the patient.
  4. Extremely remote possibilities that might falsely or detrimentally alarm the patient.
  5. Information in emergencies where failure to provide treatment would be more harmful to the patient than treatment.
  6. Information in cases where the patient is incapable of consenting.

The Supreme Court also overturned the ruling that Ms. Brown was contributorily negligent in choosing the bilateral mastectomy. The Supreme Court held that a patient is not contributorily negligent for choosing a viable medical mode of treatment presented by a physician.

There you have it, it may have been a cheap way to get you to read this article, but it is information everyone should know and understand.