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Court: Patients Responsible for Outcomes of Risky Behavior

Posted on Wed, Jul 02, 2014
Court: Patients Responsible for Outcomes of Risky Behavior

Colorado Supreme Court says doctors not liable for outcomes tied to patient's risky behavior

FRIDAY, June 27, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- The Colorado Supreme Court has ruled that patients can be at least partially responsible for their health outcomes resulting from their own unhealthy behavior, according to the American Medical Association (AMA), which supported the physicians in the case.

In the case of Kelly v. Haralampopoulos, two Colorado physicians were accused of medical liability following a patient's cardiac arrest during a procedure performed after the patient's presentation with abdominal pain. Close friends' testimony, however, indicated that the patient had been recreationally using a dangerous drug that is known to cause cardiac arrest.

A trial court allowed the friends' testimony to be considered in the case. However, the appeals court denied admittance of the friends' testimony and overturned the lower court's decision in favor of the physicians.

"The physicians appealed to the Colorado Supreme Court, which upheld the decision of the trial court, in a ruling upholding that patients can be at least partially responsible for their health outcomes as a result of their own unhealthy behavior," the AMA said in a news release.

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