Medical Informed Consent > Exceptions > Extension Doctrine

Extension Doctrine

The Extension Doctrine deals with the extenuating circumstance when the patient originally consented for a specific procedure, but at the time of performance of such procedure, further issues are encountered that are best resolved at the current time. If it is infeasible at that time to further consent the patient, or the person providing consent for the patient, then the original consent would be extended to cover the unexpected further care. This is only deemed true, though, if the additional procedure is medically appropriate and does not interfere with future reproductive capabilities.

The Extension Doctrine obviously does not hold true in cases where the patient has previously refused care, the nature of which is being pondered at the time of procedure. Also, if proposed further care may interfere with future reproductive capabilities, then the current procedure must be concluded and the patient expressly consented for the further care before it is provided. If the physician is in any way aware that additional care may needed during a procedure, then this should be explained and consented for at the time of original consent.


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