Physicians providing emergency care as good Samaritans often have questions about their legal and ethical obligations and the liability protection available to them.
Changes to the Criminal Code have raised the age of consent for sexual activity. Physicians should be guided by legislation in each province and territory on their duty to report such activity to the appropriate authorities if there are reasonable grounds to believe the child is being abused.
The practice of marking transcribed reports or entries “dictated but not read” gives rise to medical-legal risks and can create uncertainty for those relying on that information in providing patient care.
Actions physicians can take to mitigate potential risks of using patient portals to communicate clinical information with patents.
The CMPA advises on how to reduce medico-legal risks from vaccination, and how to address vaccine hesitancy and refusal.
Effective communication and awareness of legal requirements are key to obtaining consent for treatment of children.
An update on the evolving rules and processes around MAID.
A complaint to a medical regulatory authority (College) initiates a process that warrants a physician's attention and timely response.
Physicians regularly encounter patients or family members who behave aggressively and make demands that may be unrealistic and potentially harmful. In their medical practice, physicians need strategies and tools to manage conflict and such challenging behaviours.
Physicians who are familiar with regulatory requirements governing organ and tissue donations can more effectively meet their obligations and mitigate the potential for complaints.
Professional and ethical obligations to keep in mind when considering offering medical services through online virtual clinics.
Physicians should use their professional judgment when determining whether a virtual assessment, an in-person assessment, or a hybrid of both is best for individual patients.
End-of-life treatment decisions can be difficult for both physicians and patients, but many issues can be avoided by following the key concepts outlined.
Ambulance offload delay results from ED crowding and can present unique medico-legal risks for ED physicians.
A discussion of consent issues that may arise when caring for adults with diminished mental capacity (competency).
When patients make requests for specific care providers, treatments, or services, physicians should assess whether they can reasonably accommodate such requests.
Advice for physicians on applying resource allocation and ethical decision-making protocols when rationing scarce healthcare resources amid COVID-19.
An overview of obligations and issues for doctors when providing or discussing vaccinations with patients or legal guardians.
A review of CMPA medical-legal cases and research literature describing the non-technical factors contributing to diagnostic errors by surgeons in hospital operating rooms.
An overview of ways in which physicians can use patient decision aids (PDAs) to encourage shared decision-making.
An overview of issues physicians need to consider when conducting treatment or non-treatment capacity assessments.
Physicians can take steps to address bullying and other abusive behaviours they may be subjected to by patients and their families, colleagues and other healthcare workers, and third parties.
Physicians may face a privacy breach when viewing personal health information that is not required for current clinical care and without the patient’s or information custodian’s consent.
Documentation in clinical notes and reports to third parties should be factual, objective, and use a suitable tone of medical professionalism.
Practising physicians, particularly those at the beginning of their career, should ensure they have enduring access to medical records after leaving a practice for medical-legal purposes.
A look at how the legalization of recreational marijuana may affect physicians’ practices, including whether it will eliminate patients’ requests for medical marijuana.
Practical suggestions for disclosure of discrepancies stemming from pathological analysis or diagnostic imaging.
A review of CMPA member enquiries following the legalization of cannabis for recreational use reveals that the new regulatory regime has generally not had a significant medical-legal impact for our members.
Certain provinces have legislation to prevent apologies for adverse events from being used in court proceedings.
An overview of a physician's duty to maintain confidentiality and protect the privacy of patients' personal health information in instances of disclosure requests from third parties, including the police or other authorities.
An overview of the principles of retention, sharing and transferring of medical records.
An overview of information privacy considerations when using electronic medical records in practice.
Guidance for specialists on their ethical and professional responsibilities in accepting to care for new patients.
Physicians should understand the role of coroners and medical examiners in Canada,
and how and when to provide information to them.
Explanation of physicians’ mandatory and discretionary obligations to report patients who have a medical condition that may make it dangerous for them to drive.
Text messaging offers the potential for improved communication among physicians and healthcare teams, and using it appropriately can mitigate some of the inherent risks of this channel.
A review of CMPA medical-legal cases involving spinal surgery performed by a neurosurgeon or orthopaedic surgeon with risk management strategies for all phases of surgical care.
Physicians who respond affirmatively to a request for a medical-legal report should prepare the report with care and in keeping with their College’s policies and guidelines.
A discussion of physicians’ obligations when certifying a patient’s death.
Physicians can successfully manage online ratings using a reasonable and measured approach.
Guidance for physicians on assessing whether a chaperone is right for their practice.
Physicians treating pregnant patients should be knowledgeable about the developments in prenatal testing and the current standards of practice, and be able to communicate testing information so patients can make informed decisions on the future of their pregnancy.
Physicians should consider encouraging patients to engage in advance care planning and appointing a substitute decision-maker early, before the patient no longer has the capacity to consent to end-of-life care.
CMPA gives advice to physicians travelling across international borders and having border agents search mobile electronic devices, such as smartphones, that may contain confidential patient information.
Strategies for managing the stress associated with transitioning to a new EMR system for managing patient records.
Physicians acting as clinical supervisors play a valuable role in the remediation of physician colleagues and, as members of the CMPA, are eligible for the Association’s assistance if medico-legal difficulties arise.
Addressing privacy breaches has become more complex as the rules around notifying and reporting have recently changed or are about to change across the country.
The CMPA analyzes members’ calls and medical-legal questions about opioid treatment of patients suffering chronic non-cancer pain.
Physician leaders who foster a culture of accountability in their teams and institutions help promote learning from undesirable behaviours that include human error, and at-risk and reckless behaviour.
Highlights from CMPA discussion paper “The role of physician leaders in addressing physician disruptive behaviour in healthcare institutions.”
The increased availability of genetic testing raises a number of medico-legal questions that physicians should consider.
Any medical procedure where instruments are inserted into the mouth may result in dental injury, and physicians should inform patients of this risk and appropriately disclose the injury if it occurs.
Physicians supervising medical trainees must keep in mind their responsibilities to patients when delegating tasks to trainees.
Physicians can be better prepared to transfer patient health information when they understand who has custody of and access to medical records.
A review of medical-legal cases involving complications of cholecystectomy.
Individuals have a general right to access their personal information in independent medical examination files, but there are exceptions to what must be produced
Tips for physicians to help prevent drug diversion and related unlawful prescription activity, and avoid potential medical-legal difficulties.
Physicians may release a patient’s medical records to lawyers only with patient authorization or where required by law.
Physicians working with medical scribes should be aware of their obligations as an employer, delegator, and supervisor.
Physicians should try to accommodate patients’ requests to limit access to their personal health information.
Greater clarity in patient care can be achieved through healthcare directives, and when physicians understand their purpose and the rules governing them.
Physicians can take steps to mitigate the medical-legal risks of patients taking photos and making video and audio recordings during healthcare encounters.
Physicians can take reasonable steps to maintain the best interests of the patient in the midst of family disputes concerning the care of children or of elder patients.
By practising in a collegial manner, physicians may enhance the health outcomes of their patients and themselves.
Protecting the privacy of patient information when using digital communication channels, including email, portals, and social media platforms.
A discussion of the principles of access, the challenges with access, and managing the risks.
Considerations for ending the doctor-patient relationship.
This publication provides guidance and good practices about physician communications with patients concerning the disclosure of harm stemming from healthcare delivery, and aligns with the Canadian Patient Safety Institute’s (CPSI) Canadian Disclosure Guidelines (2011).
Physicians owe patients a duty to keep their personal health information confidential, yet there are times when this conflicts with other statutory duties or with concerns for public safety.
Physicians can successfully manage online ratings using a reasonable and measured approach.
Case studies related to boundary crossings and violations.
Physicians participating in clinical research studies should be aware of their relevant legal, ethical, and professional obligations.
This article explores the role of physicians in promoting the exchange of information and active decision-making by patients. It also examines the relationship between decision-making and consent.
The circumstances under which physicians can treat themselves, family and friends are limited.
A practical resource for physicians, describing the implementation and use of electronic medical records (EMRs) and electronic health records (EHRs), including benefits, technological issues, and medico-legal risks.
This article discusses what physicians can do to deliver culturally competent and culturally safe medical care.
Physicians should carefully reassess patients who return with symptoms that are not resolving as expected or are worsening.
To respond appropriately to a request to release patient information, physicians must understand the legal rules surrounding the ownership and handling of the information.
If physicians have reason to believe a child is in need of protection, they are responsible for informing the appropriate authority in a timely manner. Planning what to say to the family is important.
A discussion on how members can help meet the clinical, emotional and informational needs of patients after large scale adverse events.
Responsibilities of physicians when planning to close or leave a practice due to retirement, illness, or other reasons.
An exploration of privacy and consent issues when using clinical images or recordings of patients to teach medicine.
A review of the legal duties and ethical considerations for physicians to report their reasonable concerns about the professional competency, conduct or behaviour of another physician to health care institutions/hospitals, public health officials or regulatory authorities (Colleges).
It is well recognized that health care providers continuously strive to ensure the best possible clinical outcomes for their patients. They do so cognizant that no one individual or system can ever fully eliminate the risk and occurrence of adverse events
The physician's role in providing a child's medical information to a parent.
Clinical care is increasingly provided by collaborative teams with the promise of better outcomes for patients. This document identifies potential medico-legal risks in collaborative care and proposes solutions to lessen those risks for patients and providers.