What Does Informed Consent Have to Do with Medical Malpractice?
When undergoing any medical procedure or visiting with a doctor to receive a diagnosis, you will probably be given a variety of paperwork to fill out. Doctors have to inform patients appropriately about the risks assessed with any medical treatment or procedure. For both legal and medical purposes, this is known as informed consent.
If a doctor fails to get informed consent directly from the patient and the patient is injured, that patients can then sue for medical malpractice for any injuries that were sustained. All medical treatments and procedures involve some level of risk. It is the doctor’s responsibility, however, to inform the patient about particular procedures and treatments, so that the patient can elect to undergo that treatment and tests or not. This is crucial information that must be provided to the patient in advance of the procedure.
Usually a consent form is provided by the physician detailing the risks of the procedure. However, signing a form in and of itself does not necessarily prove that a patient gave informed consent.
The risks and the procedure need to be discussed directly with the patient by the doctor and the patient must be in a position to understand the risks being faced. Determining whether or not you have grounds to file a medical malpractice lawsuit, the standard is determining what other competent doctors would have done to inform the patient of this risk. The doctor being sued will also likely hire an expert to testify that his or her actions were enough to have disclosed the risk. Another key element of your medical malpractice claim is whether or not a normal patient might have made a different decision if informed appropriately of the risks. Which one of these applies is dependent on the state in which you live.
There are some situations in which an informed consent is not required. This applies to emotionally fragile patients and emergency situations carried out by first responders or in situations in which a physician has to act quickly in order to save the patient’s life. If you have further questions about whether or not you are eligible to file a medical malpractice claim, schedule a consultation today with an experienced medical malpractice lawyer.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney/client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.