Understanding Informed Consent in Medical Malpractice Cases
As a patient, you have the legal right to be advised of major risks before undergoing a medical procedure. If your physician failed to inform you of those risks and you subsequently suffered harm then you may have the basis of a medical malpractice claim. Ultimately, you may be best served by first consulting a medical malpractice lawyer to determine if your circumstances merit legal action against your physician. If your claim is strong enough to pursue, we can assist you in filing a personal injury claim with your doctor’s insurance company. If the carrier refuses to pay you a fair settlement for your damages, a medical malpractice lawyer from our firm can escalate the claim to a lawsuit. Our experience in the courtroom and our record of successful cases is often sufficient to convince an insurance company to return to the bargaining table.
A doctor has the legal, ethical, and moral responsibility to provide their patients with the information necessary for the patient to make informed decisions about their healthcare. A medical malpractice lawyer might explain that this is informed consent. Examples of the type of information that a doctor should share with their patient include:
- A description of the treatment or procedure that the physician is considering providing to the patient.
- The reason for providing that treatment or procedure, which should include the optimum outcome.
- Information about the potential complications and key risks associated with the treatment or procedure.
- The availability, if any, of alternative treatments or procedures and the risks and potential outcomes.
- How likely it is that the suggested treatment or procedure will be successful.
Making Healthcare Decisions
As the patient, you should have been provided the occasion to ask your doctor questions about their treatment or proposed treatment for you. You should also be given some time to consider your healthcare decisions.
Assessing Informed Consent
In determining if you have a valid medical malpractice claim, your medical malpractice lawyer may ask these questions:
- Would most reasonable doctors have disclosed the risks of the proposed treatment or procedure to their patient?
- Would most reasonable patients have declined the proposed treatment or procedure if they had been advised of the risks?
Exceptions to the Rule
Informed consent is not necessary in all circumstances. Specifically, if the patient is unconscious and they must be treated due to the emergency nature of their condition, the physician can act in order to try to save the patient’s life and does not require consent. (This assumes the patient is not a minor child and their parent or guardian is present.)
Establishing the Connection Between Lack of Informed Consent and Your Injury
When a physician does not receive informed consent from their patient prior to providing them with treatment, as long as the patient is not harmed, the patient does not have grounds for a medical malpractice claim. For it to be valid, there must be a clear connection between your injury and your lack of informed consent. Your medical malpractice lawyer may need to prove the following:
- If you had received the information regarding the risks and other issues, you would not have consented to the treatment.
- The injury you suffered was a known risk associated with the treatment, but you were not informed of that, and most reasonable physicians would have done so.
If you have concerns that you were the victim of medical malpractice, contact a skilled attorney, like a medical malpractice lawyer Houston, TX trusts, to schedule a free case review.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from John K. Zaid & Associates for their insight into medical malpractice.