No one likes to go into surgery. We all wonder about everything that can go wrong. It is a scary process. But one of the most important aspects of medical care is knowing what is being done to your body. In fact, the Legislature has created laws which require a medical provider to fully explain the procedure and what is being done, answer any questions, and get your informed consent prior to performing the procedure.
This allows a patient to weigh the risks, benefits, and alternatives to the surgery. Meaning, a patient can review the good and the bad to decide whether he or she should still continue with the procedure. This is an important part of patient autotomy.
Usually, the healthcare providers will explain the risks, benefits, and alternatives during the pre-op appointments or when surgery is recommended. Then on the day of the surgery, the healthcare providers will again explain the risks, benefits, and alternatives to the surgery just prior to the procedure. The patient will then be required to read and sign the informed consent form.
But this is in a perfect world. Sometimes surgery is emergency surgery. There are no pre-op appointments. There may be little time to discuss the issues.
However, that does not mean that the healthcare providers cannot forego giving a patient the required informed consent. If the patient is unconscious, there are exceptions. But if the patient is awake and able to communicate, the informed consent must be given. Some examples would be during emergencies which a patient is aware, such as a heart attack, stroke, appendicitis, car accident trauma, slip and fall trauma, broken bone trauma requiring immediate surgery, and other procedures.
In a busy hospital, it can be difficult for a healthcare provider to timely provide informed consent. But that does not mean it does not have to occur. Sometimes hospitals rush this process, which can result in problems.
One unfortunate way that healthcare providers rush this process is giving informed consent after the beginning of the anesthesia drugs are giving. Versed is one of the most common pre-anesthesia drugs given. It helps calm the patient, reduce pain, and can even help render a patient unconscious.
If versed is given prior to obtaining informed consent, it can result in an ineffective informed consent. A patient will be under the effects of the drug and may be unable to understand what he or she is signing. A patient will also be unable to ask proper questions and comprehend the risks, benefits, and alternatives of the surgery. This is something very important in medical care and treatment and even in the statute books written as law.
Since versed can effect your perception and alter your cognitive state, you cannot agree to sign the informed consent. If a surgery goes horribly wrong and you would not have undergone it in the first place if you were of the right mind but for the versed, you may have a strong medical malpractice claim based on the lack of informed consent.
But what do you think? I would love to hear from you! Leave a comment or I also welcome your phone call on my toll-free cell at 1-866-889-6882 or you can drop me an e-mail at [email protected] You are always welcome to request my FREE book, The Seven Deadly Mistakes of Malpractice Victims, at the home page of my website at www.protectingpatientrights.com.