A growing form of medical malpractice lawsuits concerns the lack of informed consent. Whenever a doctor begins a treatment or procedure on a patient, he must first get consent. Normally, a doctor will have the patient sign a consent form which verifies that consent was given. However, it isn’t enough just to get consent from a patient; it must be informed consent. The patient must understand what type of procedure he will undergo, as well as the risks involved.
A doctor will always be more knowledgeable about a procedure, and the patient relies on the doctor to share the most important information with him before going through with it. At the same time, the doctor has a duty to share important medical information and make sure that the patient understands what procedures will be performed on the patient’s body.
What Is Informed Consent?
Informed consent means providing the patient will all important information, especially information that would make him reconsider having the procedure. Informed consent includes:
• The patient’s medical condition
• The purpose of the surgery
• The risks involved with the procedure
• What would happen if they did not perform the procedure
• Alternative procedures and the risks involved
• How likely the procedure is to be successful
• Expected recovery time
• Cost of the procedure
• If the procedure is covered by insurance
• Name of doctor performing the procedure and his qualifications
If your health care provider does not provide you with this type of information, then your consent was not informed. However, to win a medical malpractice case you will have to prove more than lack of informed consent.
Likely Removal of Consent
It isn’t enough that you weren’t properly informed about the procedure, you have to prove that with this information you would have not consented. For example, if your doctor failed to tell you about a risk, but you probably would have consented anyway, then you do not have a case of medical malpractice. If the previous situation was life-threatening, there are few types of information that would discourage a reasonable person from proceeding with a risky procedure. You will have to show how your decision would have changed.
Cause of Injury
You will also need to prove that you suffered an injury and this injury was caused because you were not correctly informed. If your injury was a likely risk of the surgery, and you were not informed, that could be an example of malpractice. However, if your doctor did not inform you fully, but the surgery did not leave you with any injury, you have no malpractice claim.
When Is Consent Unnecessary?
There are a few situations where a doctor does not have to get consent from a patient. When the situation is a serious medical emergency and there is no time to describe all of the risks and other information, the doctor does not have to get consent. This is especially true when the patient is unconscious or not fully conscious. Doctors also don’t have to get consent for routine non-treatment procedures like checking your heart rate or blood pressure.