Informed Consent in Medical Malpractice Lawsuits
Medical treatment may come with risks along with its intended benefits. Some medications and surgical operations may be able to treat certain health problems. However, the same treatment may also bring some health risks and complications to the patient.
There are times that the said treatment may be the patient’s only chance. In these cases, a risk versus benefit treatment is the only option of the patient. The patient must then think and weigh it through. He must authorize the doctor on the procedures that he wants to be performed on him.
The patient will need to be appropriately informed to be able to come to the most beneficial decision. Before a patient can give his doctor medical consent, he must be informed of the pros and cons of the procedure. This medical professional consent is called informed consent. If a doctor performs a risk versus benefit procedure without informed consent, he can be charged with medical malpractice.
The Importance of an Informed Consent
It is the fundamental right of every patient to know what a doctor plans for his treatment. This comes with the possible risks that the treatment might bring about. All doctors and medical practitioners must observe this right. A patient that is not informed correctly may unknowingly agree to an operation that could only worsen his condition. He must understand the benefits that the operation offers, as well as its possible risks and complications. Some common types of medical malpractice practice areas include:
- Cauda Equina Syndrome
- Anesthesiology Mistakes
- Cancer Misdiagnosis
- Surgical Errors
- Dental Malpractice
- Heart Attack Misdiagnosis
- Birth Injuries
A medical practitioner could be charged with medical malpractice if the procedure without informed consent resulted in an injury. It is considered negligent on the doctor’s part to provide treatment without getting the patient’s informed consent. Patients who are injured because of risks of which they are not aware can take legal action against his doctor. They can seek financial compensation for their additional medical expenses and loss of income due to said injuries.
What is Informed Consent?
It is not enough that a patient gives his consent. He must give his consent with full knowledge of the benefits and possible consequences. Informed consent is the process where the patient learns and understands what comes with the medical operation.
He must understand the purpose of the procedure and treatment, along with its benefits and potential risks. The same is true with clinical tests and trials. The patient or representative must sign a statement to confirm that they understand the benefits and risks of the treatment.
The following steps must be done to get an informed consent:
- The patient is explicitly told about all the benefits and possible risks and complications.
- The patient is made aware of the benefits and risks of other options as well.
- The patient can ask questions for clarification and further understanding.
- The patient gets the answers to all his doubts and clarifications.
- The patient is given the time to discuss the matter with his family and loved ones.
- The patient can use the information provided to him to make the best decision for himself.
- The patient shares his decision to his doctor.
The patient will be given a form to sign to signify his consent. It is essential that the patient or a representative read the document thoroughly. Mind the wordings. Some informed consent can be worded in a manner that the doctor can perform procedures aside from the agreed treatment.
The patient may refuse and withhold his consent. He will be required to sign an informed refusal document. This document will be the written evidence that the patient was informed of the benefits and risks of the treatment.
What are the Exemptions to Informed Consent?
Not all medical procedures need informed consent from the patient. There are cases where bypassing the informed content of the patient is the better option.
- Emergency Cases
A doctor can forego informed consent in emergency cases. An emergency may require treatment as soon as possible to increase the patient’s chance of healing and recovery.
- Patient Cannot Give Consent
There are situations that the patient cannot give informed consent. It could be that the patient is unresponsive, a child, a minor, or is mentally incapacitated.
- Routine Procedures
Basic and routine medical procedures are also an exemption. These include non-invasive tests, checking of vital signs, and other basic medical procedures.
Are You a Victim of Medical Negligence in Michigan? Call The Clark Law Office Now
Patients who incurred injuries because of medical negligence are entitled to financial compensation. Get only the best legal team in Michigan at The Clark Law Office. Our lawyers have fought side by side with victims, fighting for just compensation. We will help you from step one and analyze your case. You can focus on your healing and leave the legal matters to us. Call us now for a free consultation.