News & Knowledge

Florida Handbook: Informed Refusal

A patient refuses to follow the treatment plan I have prescribed for him. What should I do?

Under Florida law, a patient has the right to refuse any treatment that is not otherwise required by law; however, the healthcare provider has the responsibility to document such a refusal. A patient who refuses to follow your treatment plan can be a liability. In such situations, it is crucial that you fully educate the patient on the risks and consequences of refusal. This discussion and the patient’s refusal should be documented in the medical record, and the patient should sign an informed refusal form. The following should be included in the documentation:

  • consequences of refusal (risks and complications),
  • advice given to the patient,
  • instructions…

Curi’s risk mitigation resources and guidance are offered for educational and informational purposes only. This information is not medical or legal advice, does not replace independent professional judgment, does not constitute an endorsement of any kind, should not be deemed authoritative, and does not establish a standard of care in clinical settings or in courts of law. If you need legal advice, you should consult your independent/corporate counsel. We have found that using risk mitigation efforts can reduce malpractice risk; however, we do not make any guarantees that following these risk recommendations will prevent a complaint, claim, or suit from occurring, or mitigate the outcome(s) associated with any of them.