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Wisconsin Law Changes Informed Consent Standard

Wisconsin Informed Consent – Governor Signs Bill

informed consent wisconsin lawGovernor Walker has signed into law Assembly Bill 139.  The law changes physicians’ obligations to provide informed consent prior to providing medical treatment.

Wisconsin Assembly Bill 139 amended Wisconsin Statutes 448.30 to clarify the standard that a physician must meet when obtaining informed consent from a patient.  The Bill was introduced in reaction to the Wisconsin Supreme Court’s Jandre decision which employed a “reasonable patient standard” to determine whether a physician has fulfilled his or her duty to obtain informed consent.  Under the reasonable patient standard, a physician was required to disclose information necessary for a reasonable person in the patient’s position to make an intelligent decision with respect to the choices of treatment.

Assembly Bill 139 changed the focus of the informed consent standard under Wisconsin law from a “reasonable patient” standard to a “reasonable physician” standard.  The Bill provides that the reasonable physician standard requires the disclosure only of information that a reasonable physician in the same or a similar medical specialty would know and disclose under the circumstances.  The Bill also provides that the physician’s duty does not require the disclosure of information about alternate medical modes of treatment for conditions that the physician does not believe the patient has at the time the physician informs the patient.


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John H. Fisher

Health Care Counsel
Ruder Ware, L.L.S.C.
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