A physician must fully inform a patient about any risks involved in a proposed procedure or treatment before actually administering it. This is referred to as “informed consent,” and it plays a critical role in medical malpractice claims. If a physician fails to receive informed consent from the patient, and the patient suffers adverse effects, then the physician may be liable for any injuries (or deaths) that occur.
Medical procedures and treatments typically carry some risks. While these risks could be minor and rare, it is still the obligation of the treating physician to inform patients of possible risks, as well as the likelihood that they could experience them. Patients can then decide if the treatment plan is right for them based on those risks. Providing a patient with essential information regarding the treatment, then obtaining his or her consent, is the basis of informed consent.
Physicians will typically have the patient sign a consent form for treatment, which details all risks involved for the proposed procedure. Signing this form does not automatically constitute consent. The physician must discuss the procedure and any associated risks with the patient to receive informed consent. Also, the patient must understand those risks. If a patient signs the document, but was not verbally informed or completely aware of the risks, the physician could still be liable.
Determining if a patient has provided a physician with consent is critical in medical malpractice suits. If a physician does not have informed consent in a situation where the patient would not have opted for treatment if he or she knew the risks involved, the physician is liable for injuries and losses.
The physician does not have to disclose all risks – especially those that are minor or do not apply to the patient because of his or her health profile. However, there are two standards used to determine what should be disclosed when obtaining consent:
If you were injured and not properly informed of the risks, you may be entitled to compensation. You will need to speak with a medical malpractice attorney regarding your potential claim. Contact Berkowitz and Hanna LLC today to schedule a no-obligation case evaluation. Call or contact us online to get started.