Informed consent is a process of communication and a signed agreement between a patient and physician (not a representative or proxy) that results in the patient’s authorization to undergo a specific medical procedure or treatment. Without being fully informed of the risks and alternatives regarding a planned treatment, a patient cannot give an informed consent to proceed. This inadequate information may result in further injury and even wrongful death.
Adequate information from a physician regarding a procedure should include: the identification and qualifications of the physician or surgeon who will be performing the medical procedure, the patient’s present medical condition (if known), the purpose of the proposed procedure and the risks involved, any alternatives to the procedure and the risks involved with the alternatives (including non-treatment if it is an option), the chances of the procedure’s success, expected length of recovery time, the approximate cost of the procedure and whether it will likely be covered by the patient’s health insurance.
A patient must also be given the opportunity to ask the doctor questions and discuss their options with family.
Signing an informed consent form does not mean a doctor or hospital can’t still be held accountable for malpractice. A doctor is still required to act within the required standard of care. It is also important to note that proving a physician or surgeon failed to obtain informed consent is not enough to win a medical malpractice lawsuit. A patient must prove that had they been informed properly, they wouldn’t have consented to the medical treatment and that their medical outcome would have been different.
If you or a family member might be a victim of medical malpractice due to lack of informed consent, contact attorneys Weiss & Paarz today.