What You Should Know About Informed Consent

doctor talking to patientDoctors must obtain your informed consent before providing treatment. This means the doctor must obtain your consent after informing you about various aspects of the procedure or treatment. This includes the reasons the doctor wants to do the treatment, possible risks or complications and alternative treatments.

If a doctor does not provide all the essential information before you consent to treatment, he or she could be held liable for complications or injuries that arise. The Savannah medical malpractice attorneys at Roden Law can discuss your legal options in a free, no obligation legal consultation. If you have a viable case, we are committed to pursuing all the compensation you deserve for medical bills, pain and suffering and other damages.

Understanding Informed Consent

Obtaining informed consent is a process where the doctor and patient should have an active role. First, the doctor must provide a detailed explanation of the procedure and everything it entails, including:

  • Alternative treatments and their risks and complications
  • Likelihood the procedure or treatment will be successful
  • Purpose of the procedure and the desired outcome
  • Key risks and possible complications and the probability they will occur

This information allows the patient to make a fully informed decision about whether to agree to the treatment being proposed. The patient must also be given the chance to ask questions about any of the information that has been provided.

If you agree to the proposed treatment, you will likely be asked to sign a consent form that allows the doctor to treat you. The doctor cannot provide any additional treatments beyond what has been agreed to unless you provide informed consent for those additional treatments.

The only exception to this rule is if something unexpected happens during your treatment and your health is in danger. In these situations, doctors can take reasonable actions to treat you, even though they might exceed the scope of your informed consent.  

When Informed Consent is Not Required

Informed consent is not necessary in all situations, such as the following:

  • Emergency situations that involve an unconscious patient and treatment is necessary to save the patient’s life
  • Routine procedures that could include standard testing or checking the patient’s vitals such as his or her heartbeat

Proving Medical Malpractice

There are many types of medical malpractice cases involving a lack of informed consent. For example, you may have a case in the following situations:

  • You would have made a different decision if you were provided sufficient information
  • An injury happened that was not part of the discussion with the physician
  • You were not informed about alternative treatments
  • Your doctor did not say you had the right to refuse treatment

However, you must prove a link between the lack of informed consent and the injury or harm you suffered. For example, if you suffered a complication the doctor never discussed with you, there may be grounds for a lawsuit.

Proving medical malpractice often involves using an expert medical witness who can testify about information that should have been provided. Medical records may also help establish whether the health care provider gave you sufficient information before your treatment.

Contact Roden Law for a Free Consultation

Our skilled legal team at Roden Law is available to discuss your potential legal options during a free, risk-free case evaluation. We can analyze the facts of your claim and determine if you may have a claim for medical malpractice due to lack of informed consent.

We charge no upfront fees and are only paid for our legal services if we help you to successfully recover compensation for your claim.