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interest in achieving his own determination on treatment, the law must itself set the standard for adequate disclosure. 126
Instead of asking whether the defendant’s actions conformed to the customary practice of a competent physician under the circumstances, these courts ask whether information about mobile health products that the defendant-physician failed to provide would have been material to a reasonable patient’s decision about whether to consent to treatment. 127 In some jurisdictions, this materiality issue can also play out at the “duty” level (that is, courts will determine the issue as a matter of law on a fact- pattern basis). For example, in Arato v. Avedon, the Supreme Court of California ruled that as a matter of law, a physician did not have a duty to disclose statistical life expectancy data or information material to a patient’s non-medical interests. 128 Thus, a physician might successfully argue that she was under no duty to discuss the risks disclosed by a patient-acquired data- collecting app. Under either the patient-centered or physician-centered standard of care, the malpractice doctrine obligates physicians to take reasonable steps to inform themselves regarding the limitations of the resources available to them and adjust their conduct accordingly. 129 For example, in Hall v. Hilbun, the defendant-physician argued that the hospital-provided nursing staff members were incompetent. 130 The court found that the defendant was obligated to adjust his conduct in light of what he knew or should have known about the competence of the nursing staff—declining to rely on their independent judgment if he knew them to be incompetent. 131 Another case from the same court, Boyd v. Lynch, illustrates the importance of the reasonableness standard as applied to a physician’s reliance on available resources. 132 Although an expert witness suggested that a physician should generally work with a nurse for at least six months before justifiably relying on that nurse to independently assess patients, the Mississippi Supreme Court affirmed a directed verdict for the defendant. 133 The court found that, under the circumstances, the physician’s reliance on the independent assessment of a nurse he had known for only one month was insufficient to show that the
126. See, e.g. Canterbury v. Spence, 464 F.2d 772, 786-87 (D.C. Cir. 1972). 127. See id. 128. Arato v. Avedon, 858 P.2d 598, 607 (Cal. 1993). 129. See Hall v. Hilbun, 466 So.2d 856 (Miss. 1985), superseded by statute, Miss. Code Ann. § 85-5-7 (2004), as recognized in Narkeeta Timber Co., Inc. v. Jenkins, 777 So.2d 39 (Miss. 2000). 130. Id. at 878-79. 131. Id. at 870, 878-79. 132. Boyd v. Lynch, 493 So.2d 1315, 1317-18 (Miss. 1986). 133. Id. at 1317, 1320.