As the number of newcomers and visitors to Canada continues to grow, dentists often find themselves caring for patients who are being treated for the first time in our country. How does this affect your CDSPI Malpractice coverage?
YOU CAN BE CONFIDENT
CDSPI Malpractice Insurance covers you for the treatment of any patient within the jurisdiction where you are licensed, provided the suit is brought in Canada and subject to the terms and conditions of the policy. The patient does not need to be a resident of your province or territory, or of Canada.
A patient could potentially attempt to sue you once they have returned to their home country. To help counter this, we advise that you have a signed Consent to Treatment form that acknowledges they can only undertake an action in your jurisdiction. There is typically a section on your province’s or territory’s Consent to Treatment form relating to jurisdiction. CDSPI also provides a sample Consent to Treatment form on our website.
When people come from other countries, their records may not be available, or they may be in another language. In these cases, you need to be extra diligent if you don’t have a history or prior x-rays to rely on. Avoid potential issues with accurate documentation of conversations, charts, records of diagnostic procedures and treatment plans.
LANGUAGE AND INFORMED CONSENT
When a patient and dentist have little or no knowledge of each other’s language, the patient should be accompanied by someone who can translate. You should not provide treatment until you are completely confident that the patient fully understands and consents to the treatment you are proposing. If you need to explain a complicated procedure, the patient may need a professional interpreter.
Patients must also have the legal and mental capacity to give consent. They must be over a certain age, for example (which varies according to jurisdiction), and they must be deemed mentally capable of giving consent. A parent, guardian or legally authorized substitute decision maker can provide consent on their behalf, when this is necessary.1
We note that these circumstances could apply to other patients where a patient history is not available. We feel it’s important to highlight the importance of informed consent and protecting yourself from potential malpractice lawsuits.
If you have any questions about malpractice insurance, please contact us.
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1. Health Care Consent Act, Province of Ontario, 2018.
Malpractice Insurance is underwritten by Zurich Insurance Company Ltd. CDSPI Malpractice Insurance is offered in all provinces and territories except Alberta, Ontario and Quebec.
The information contained here is a summary only. A full description of coverage and eligibility, including exclusions, restrictions and limitations can be found in the Policy Terms and Conditions governing each plan.