Before a doctor delivers treatment or performs a procedure, you must be permitted to provide informed consent. This means that you have been fully informed of the risks and potential complications surrounding the treatment or procedure, and you elect to move ahead despite those risks. When a medical professional fails to secure informed consent from a patient, they may be found guilty of medical malpractice.
What Is Informed Consent?
There are very few medical procedures that are without risk. It is a medical provider’s responsibility to provide their patient with information about a procedure so that the patient can determine whether or not to undergo the treatment, procedure or test. Many medical professionals put these risks in writing and require that their patients sign an official type of informed consent in order to protect themselves.
It is important to understand that simply signing a form is not providing informed consent. The doctor must go over the form with you and answer any questions you may have. You cannot give informed consent without a clear picture of the risks you are facing.
Disclosure of Risks
A doctor does not have to inform you of every last risk involved with a treatment, but they do have to disclose risks that another doctor in a similar situation would have disclosed.
The second standard states that the courts may consider whether a typical patient under the same circumstances would have changed their mind about undergoing a procedure had they been informed of the risks involved. Additionally, doctors are required to provide patients with at least one alternative to the procedure if one exists.
No Consent Required
In some instances, informed consent is not required. This includes emergencies in which doctors must act quickly to save a life. The second instance is in the case of emotionally fragile patients. If a doctor can reasonable prove that disclosing all of the risks would create mental anguish or anxiety.
If you believe that you have undergone a procedure without providing your doctor with informed consent, please contact our office. We will review the details of your case and advise you of your options. There are several elements that must be proven for a successful outcome. We can tell you if you have these elements in place. Call today.