The most general understanding of medical care is that patients go to doctors to inquire about their health, and if there is a problem, the doctor is charged with fixing the problem. In reality, the patient’s role is not so passive.
Experienced medical malpractice attorneys know that the best treatment is only received when patient’s take an active role in determining the course of that treatment. The only way to play a vital and active role is for the patient to receive necessary, adequate, and proper communication from their treating medical professionals.
Medical professionals cannot decide on their own about how to treat a patient. In fact, they must receive informed consent from the patient, granting the doctor the permission to perform the proposed procedure. This is founded in the basic concept that all competent and mature people are the sovereign decision makers over what happens to their bodies.
Since medical professionals are mandated to receive informed consent from patients prior to performing a procedure, you should know what informed consent is. Informed consent requires medical professionals to tell the patient what their ailment is and how the illness can be treated. All forms of treatment must be disclosed to the patient, not just the courses of treatment preferred by the medical professional. The risks associated with each type of treatment must also be disclosed to the patient. Additionally, the patient must be told what the consequences of not taking the treatment are.
In short, the doctor must disclose all the alternatives available to the patient in relation to the course of action recommended by the treating physician.
Sometimes lack of informed consent arises when the treating medical professional simply believes that a certain course of action is best and merely proceeds. Other times, the failure is much more complex.
The medical professional might not have taken the time to truly understand the patient’s cognitive level. Other times, English is the patient’s second language. The patient might feel under stress or pressure to make a decision quickly. The doctor must also inform the patient how much time there is to make a decision along with the honest consequences of waiting to decide.
Of course, simply being a medical professional can be intimidating to some people; doctors hold a position of great esteem and respect in the community.
Whatever the reason may be, failing to obtain adequate informed consent from a patient prior to performing a medical procedure is grounds for a legal claim founded in medical malpractice. There are exceptions to the rule, and experienced medical malpractice attorneys are keen to these exceptions. They have also handled these types of cases in the past.
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.