Did I really need this procedure? Would I have taken this medication had I known about its side effects? These are just few of the questions a patient may ask themselves when contemplating a medical malpractice claim. Many medical malpractice claims occur because of a lack of informed consent, including but not limited to, misread mammograms and misdiagnosis of breast cancer. Doctors are trusted to use their expertise to inform patients of their diagnosis and treatment options available. However, if a doctor negligently advises or treats a patient, he or she may be liable for medical malpractice. This article explains informed consent.
What is Informed Consent?
A patient has the legal right to receive information about their treatment options, risks of treatment and the prognosis. The doctor must use his or her expertise to advise the patient on this information. The information given to the patient must be clearly written, complete, easily understood and advise patients of the risks of the procedure that a patient should know before agreeing to the procedure. If the patient receives this information, any consent given afterward is considered to be informed. Most medical treatment facilities required their patients to sign consent forms due to legal concerns for informed consent.
Who is competent to give informed consent?
A patient must be competent to give informed consent. Under the law, adults are presumed to be competent. The presumption of competency can be challenged by evidence of mental illness, impairments, and incapacity. Minors are presumed to be incompetent and unable to give informed consent to medical treatment. Therefore, parents or guardians must give consent for the minor to receive medical treatment.
Obtaining good legal help is crucial to any legal claim. If you think you have a claim for damages due to a lack of informed consent, contact one of our experienced attorneys today.