The Taiwan High Court rendered the 103-Yi-Shang-29 Civil Decision of December 20, 2016 (hereinafter, the “Decision”), holding that if a laser or intense pulse light therapy is adopted, the types of the skin lesions, the therapeutic effects as well as the existence of any special medical history of the patient’s skin quality should be assessed in advance, and the potential therapeutic effects and complications should also be communicated to the patient.
According to the facts underlying this Decision, the Appellant asserted that she had gone through the therapy at issue at Clinic A at her own cost. However, before conducting the therapy each time, Physician B of Clinic A had failed to conduct a skin test such as a local irradiation test on the Appellant’s skin and had failed to completely fulfil the obligation to inform according to common medical practices. In addition, the physician also applied excessive doses of laser and conducted the therapy too frequently. As a result, the Appellant was diagnosed in a hospital to suffer from uneven pigmentation on the face or facial heterochromia (hereinafter, the “Uneven Facial Pigmentation”) and filed a complaint to seek damages.
The Decision first held, according to the hospital’s reply, that the melasma on the Appellant’s face will cause uneven facial color, and that melasma could be caused by the following factors: (1) irradiation of sunlight and (2) hormonal changes in the body. Since it is very difficult to completely heal the melasma on the face, there were a lot of factors for the Appellant’s Uneven Facial Pigmentation, including existing factors or other factors. The Appellant’s medical history does not indicate if the issue was caused by improper treatment in the past.
According to the Decision, if a laser or intense pulse light therapy is adopted, the types of the skin lesions, the therapeutic effects as well as the existence of any special medical history of the patient’s skin quality should be assessed in advance, and the potential therapeutic effects and complications should also be communicated to the patient.
This Decision took into account the agreement executed by the Appellant before the therapy was conducted for the first time which set forth detailed descriptions of the therapy, its indications, processes (including before, during and after the treatment), and the potential skin reactions on the face after the therapy and management. In addition, the Appellant also issued a letter of consent to the therapy, indicating her awareness of relevant matters such as the risks, therapeutic effects, matters to be noted before and after the surgery, and potential changes. This is sufficient to conclude that the obligation to inform was sufficiently fulfilled. Based on the foregoing reasons, the appeal was dismissed for groundless claims.