Medical procedures, surgeries and treatments are often necessary for addressing various health conditions and improving the well-being of patients. Obtaining informed consent is a critical step in the medical process. If healthcare professionals fail to get informed consent, it may be considered medical malpractice.
What is informed consent?
Informed consent is a process where doctors or healthcare providers disclose relevant information to patients about a procedure or treatment’s potential risks, benefits and potential alternatives. The purpose of informed consent is to empower patients to make informed decisions about their healthcare. Patients usually sign a consent form indicating their understanding and acceptance of the risks involved, but the form itself is not enough. The doctor must engage in a meaningful conversation with the patient to ensure they truly understand the situation.
If a doctor performs a different procedure from the one to which the patient agreed, the patient may have grounds to sue for medical malpractice. However, there are exceptions, such as when doctor performs a necessary procedure to solve an unforeseen issue during the initial, consented-to treatment.
Standards for informed consent
In cases where a patient is injured during a medical procedure, the outcome hinges on whether the doctor properly informed the patient about the risks involved. Courts generally use one of two standards to assess this:
- Competent doctor: This standard assesses whether a competent doctor in the same field would have informed the patient about the specific risk. It requires expert testimony and focuses on whether the risk was significant and somewhat likely to occur.
- Reasonable patient: Unlike the first standard, this one views the issue from the patient’s perspective. It evaluates whether a reasonable patient, placed in the same situation as the plaintiff, would have chosen not to undergo the procedure or treatment if they were aware of the risk.
Exceptions to informed consent
In emergency situations, doctors may not have the time to fully discuss potential risks with the patient. In such cases, they must act immediately to save the patient’s life, even without explicit consent. Similarly, for life-saving treatments, doctors may not disclose every detail to avoid dissuading the patient from receiving necessary care. However, doctors should be prepared to explain their decision not to disclose certain risks in these situations. Once the emergency is over, doctors must seek consent for any ongoing treatment.
If you believe that you did not give informed consent for a procedure, the Law Offices of Tim Misny can evaluate your claim and explain your legal options.
Discuss your claim with an Ohio medical malpractice attorney
The Law Offices of Tim Misny can help you with your medical malpractice and informed consent claim. When you or a loved one are the victim of neglect or recklessness, I’ll Make Them Pay!® Call my office at (877) 614-9524 so that I can evaluate your case right away.