Numerous catastrophic events in the 21st century have motivated renewed discussion regarding whether the traditional definition of standard of care appropriately applies to clinical decision-making in crisis scenarios. Some authorities have proposed the adoption of a crisis standard of care, which refines physician responsibilities during a crisis event in accordance with population health principles. However, this proposal is fraught with controversy, and current medical and legal scholarship on this topic remains complex and conflicted. To clarify these points and provide practicing neurosurgeons with guidance, we provide a review of current literature on the evolving definitions of crisis standard of care. Additionally, we provide an assessment of the implications of a crisis standard of care, as it relates to legal liability, clinical ethics, and neurosurgical practice.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology