Patient Protection Under French Law: The Example of Medical Information | Pages 459-465 | PDF

Philippe Pierre, Professor
Rennes University, France

Keywords: medical liability, physicians, medical establishments, patient’s information duty, ethical fault, proof, compensation

The duty of physicians and health institutions to inform patients about medical risks is a much-debated source of liability in French law. Ethical misconduct resulting from breaches of these obligations is likely to call into question the balance of relations between health professionals and patients. Case law, and then the French law of 4 March 2002, have constantly improved the possibilities of action for victims of incomplete or imperfect information, by making it easier for them to prove the lack of information and by establishing the compensable damages, which are distinct from bodily injuries. However, one may wonder whether this increased protection of patients is not now excessive, by transferring the burden of the medical decision and the related risks onto them, once they have been fully informed.