Informed Consent And Medical Malpractice: Get Answers To The Questions You May Have

23 August 2016
 Categories: Law, Blog

Most states have informed consent laws. If these laws were not followed and you were injured during a procedure or treatment that you did not consent to, you may be able to file a medical malpractice personal injury lawsuit. However, informed consent is not a topic that most people are familiar with. As such, you may find yourself with many questions. Here are a few frequently asked questions about informed consent and its impact on medical malpractice claims.

What is Informed Consent?

If you are being treated for a condition, a medical professional is required to give you information about the treatment they are recommending. This includes the risks and benefits associated with the treatment and what the projected outcome will be. If there are alternative treatments that are less risky, they may also be required to disclose those other treatments and allow you to select which one you prefer. The theory behind informed consent is that the patient then has a role in selecting the treatment that they feel is best for them, based on their needs and lifestyle.

When is Informed Consent Not Needed?

In most instances, informed consent is required by law. However, there are a few circumstances where a doctor may make medical decisions on behalf of the patient without informing them of the potential risks. If it is an emergency situation, a doctor may perform the treatments that they feel are needed to stabilize the patient without discussing the risks. Also, if a patient is mentally incompetent or emotionally unstable, a doctor may step in and make decision on their behalf if there is not a family member available who would legally be able to make those decisions.

How Does Informed Consent Impact a Medical Malpractice Claim?

If a doctor does not inform you of the risks associated with a procedure or medical treatment and you are injured as a result of that treatment, you can file a personal injury case. For example, if a doctor recommends you be placed on medication for high blood pressure, but does not tell you that a side effect is potential heart problems, and then you develop heart problems due to the medication, you can file a claim. This allows you to recover money for your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering related to the condition because you weren't given the information needed that would have possibly made you decline the treatment or select a different one.

Informed consent helps you as a patient make pertinent decisions related to your medical care. If a doctor does not inform you of the risks of a particular medical treatment, and you end up injured as a result, you will want to consult with a personal injury attorney. They can help you determine if informed consent is a factor in your case and whether the criteria necessary to file a medical malpractice personal injury claim has been met.

For more information, contact a professional in your area or visit a website like