Prior to administering medical treatment, surgical procedures, and other invasive treatment in particular, medical professionals are required to obtain informed consent. Even if the patient’ condition could be improved by the procedure, or even if it could save his or her life, the patient has rights and can say what will or will not be done to his or her body.
Informed consent are the steps a healthcare professional needs to take to ensure that a patient has been advised fully of the risks and benefits that are associated with any given procedure. The reason for this is so that the patient’s decision on whether or not to proceed is informed. In cases where a patient is unconscious or unable to give personal consent for another reason, the decision can be made on the patient’s behalf by a qualified representative of the patient (i.e., a spouse or a parent).
Patients who have sought medical treatment and have not been properly advised of the risks that are related to the procedure, or the doctor failed to obtain the patient’s consent, the patient may be able to sue for medical malpractice on the grounds that the medical professional did not obtain informed consent.
In cases of informed consent, the procedure may have been performed properly, however if the patient did not provide their consent to the treatment and suffered any type of physical and/or emotional injury because the procedure was done without their consent, it may be considered an instance of malpractice on a lack of informed consent basis.
Informed consent violations can be committed by:
- The failure to provide the patient with information that is detailed and accurate regarding the risks, side effects, recovery time, and other issues pertinent to the procedure.
- Not providing the patient with sufficient information regarding the procedure’s benefits and potential success rate.
- Obtaining the patient’s approval through exaggeration, misleading, or coercion.
- Complete failure to obtain informed consent.
- Consent was obtained by a party who was not qualified to give the consent.
There are some exceptions to informed consent, including emergency situations where the patient is not able to give consent (such as when the patient is unconscious). In this instance, medical care that could be life-saving may need to be administered and there isn’t time to find a qualified representative to provide consent.
While a doctor is more qualified to determine whether a procedure is beneficial to a patient, given their experience, training, and education, the patient still has the right to decide for themselves whether the procedure will be performed, based on the information given to him or her by the doctor.
If you or a loved one has had a procedure performed when informed consent was not given, contact an experienced Kingston, New York medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible to evaluate your case.
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