When Should You Make an Informed Consent Claim?
We trust medical professionals to inform us of the risks of medications, surgeries, and actions that affect our health. But what happens when our doctors, nurses, or pharmacists make a mistake that puts our lives at risk? In these cases, there can be significant impacts on our health and wellbeing.
Are you or a loved one suffering from an injury that could have been avoided if you knew all the facts? Here’s how to decide whether you should make an informed consent claim when a medical professional fails to inform you about the risks of a medical procedure.
What is informed consent?
Informed consent occurs when your healthcare provider explains your illnesses, medical conditions, and treatment options to you. Since you base your decisions about treatments on this information, it is important that doctors and other medical professionals provide adequate detail.
Without receiving information about your medical condition and treatment options, it is impossible to make informed decisions that can have long-lasting impacts on your health. If a physician fails to explain your conditions and the risks of specific treatment options, you may have grounds for a medical malpractice suit. However, not all failures to inform reach the level of medical malpractice.
Do my physicians always need to provide informed consent?
Generally, physicians should always receive informed consent from their patients. However, the amount of information that someone needs to receive to give informed consent varies based on the procedure.
For example, minor surgeries or common treatments that typically do not result in side effects usually require the least amount of information. On the other hand, major surgeries and operations, complex procedures, and even some tests may require a higher level of informed consent.
In addition, there are times where consent is not necessary or possible. This includes emergencies, where the physician must act quickly to preserve the life of their patient. Similarly, when a patient cannot understand their condition or the risks of a medical procedure, another decision-maker will need to decide on the patient’s behalf. It is important to understand the laws in your specific state when determining whether consent was necessary in your specific case.
How should medical professionals provide consent for specific treatments?
Doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals typically receive consent in two ways. First, they explain the patient’s condition and treatment options verbally. After explaining treatment options and the risks that come with those treatments, a physician may ask whether the patient agrees to a specific form of treatment. This is generally for conditions and treatment options that do not carry significant risks.
But what happens if your conditions and treatment options are potentially life-altering? In these events, you typically must receive a written document and sign this paperwork to provide consent.
And what happens if you move forward with a medical procedure without knowing about the potential complications? Here’s how to tell whether your physician’s failure to inform you about the risks lead to a case of medical malpractice.
Identifying Failure to Inform and Provide Express Informed Consent
Failure to receive consent only happens when specific events occur. To decide whether you were the victim of medical malpractice, these things must happen:
- You have a doctor-patient relationship with the individual that did not explain all the risks of a condition or treatment.
- The doctor, nurse, or medical professional did not provide information on the risks of a procedure or test, which any competent professional with a similar background would normally provide. This is known as the medical standard of care rule.
- Because you were not informed of all the risks of a procedure, you suffered an injury. You must be able to show that there was negligence by your medical professional in either giving the treatment or informing you of the risks.
- Due to this negligence, you are suffering from quantifiable damages. This could be in the form of additional medical care, pain and suffering, or even loss of life.
What are your next steps for making an informed consent claim?
It is important to act immediately if you suffer an avoidable injury because a medical professional did not inform you of all the risks. At Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath, we will help you understand your rights involving your medical malpractice case. We will help you gather evidence, build your case, and argue the facts in court so that you receive justice.
Use the live chat option on our website to speak with a representative or schedule your consultation by phone at (561) 655-1990. Our consultations are at no cost nor obligation to you and your family. Speak with us today.