Informed consent is generally governed by two Nevada statutes: NRS 41A.110 and NRS 449.710(6). I say “generally” because there are a number of specific situations which have their own standards for informed consent. For example, when informed consent for an abortion has additional standards.
Informed Consent Statutes
NRS 41A.110 states that informed consent is conclusively established where a physician has:
- Explained to the patient in general terms , without specific details, the procedure to be undertaken;
- Explained to the patient alternative methods of treatment, if any, and their general nature;
- Explained to the patient that there may be risks, together with the general nature and extent of the risks involved, without enumerating such risks; and
- Obtained the signature of the patient to a statement containing an explanation of the procedure, alternative methods of treatment and risks involved, as provided in this section.
NRS 449.710(6) is part of Nevada’s “Patient Bill of Rights.” Informed consent must include:
- A description of the significant medical risks involved;
- Any information on alternatives to the treatment or procedure if the patient requests that information;
- The name of the person responsible for the procedure or treatment; and
- The costs likely to be incurred for the treatment or procedure and any alternative treatment or procedure.
This information must be communicated, but there is no specific writing requirement.
Under either of these disclosures, the duty is to “disclose information that a reasonable practitioner in the same field of practice would disclose.” Smith v. Cotter, 810 P.2d 1204, 107 Nev. 267 (1991). So a health care provider would use their best judgment in identifying the level of disclosure that is reasonable.