Informed Consent in Medical Malpractice Cases

Informed consent isn’t much understood by non-specialists. Medical malpractice is a serious issue in Georgia and the entire United States. Several medical practitioners negligently endanger the lives of their patients. One such way physicians can hurt their patients is by not obtaining informed consent before medical procedures. Fortunately, an Atlanta personal injury attorney can get you damages for any injuries a medical practitioner causes you.

So, suppose your doctor doesn’t obtain your informed consent over medical treatment. Then, you may have a personal injury claim against them. An excellent personal injury lawyer can explain the import of informed consent. In addition, they can represent you against the fault party and get you the maximum compensation possible.

What Is Informed Consent?

Everyone knows that patients must consent to any medical treatment. Many times, such patients must also grant the physician permission before conducting any medical examination. However, informed consent incorporates these elements and much more. It demands that your doctor supply the necessary information to help you make an informed decision.

Detailed information is important because several medical procedures involve significant risk. This is especially the case with invasive procedures such as surgeries. Therefore, a patient may suffer major side effects or even die. A doctor must thus inform the patient of all such risks.

When Is Informed Consent Necessary?

Informed consent is obtained in several cases. Some of them include:

  • Surgical procedures
  • Clinical trials
  • Cancer treatments such as chemotherapy
  • Blood transfusion
  • Bloodwork
  • Vaccinations
  • Complex medical procedures

This isn’t an exhaustive list. Instead, many other medical treatments require informed consent.

Elements of Informed Consent

Notably, doctors don’t just have to inform you of the risks of the treatment. Instead, they must also state the following:

  • The exact nature of the procedure
  • It’s benefits
  • Chances of success of the medical procedure
  • Reasonable alternative treatment options, including their risks and benefits

Informed consent is both an ethical and legal duty of US medical practitioners. So, if they breach this responsibility, they’ll be liable for medical malpractice. Furthermore, the entire process will involve:

  • Your diagnosis
  • A discussion session with your physician or a qualified representative
  • A full explanation of the treatment procedure and its justification
  • A detailed explanation of the risks and benefits
  • Analysis of the risks and benefits of not undergoing the recommended treatment
  • Explanation of the alternative options

After the pretreatment conference, many hospitals will require that you sign a consent form. This document will contain your name, signature, date of the conference, and signature of the hospital’s attorney and the treating physician.

Exceptions to the Requirement of Informed Consent

Like most legal rules, there are exceptions to the requirement of getting informed consent before medical procedures. Some of them include:

  • Life-threatening emergencies that leave no time for obtaining informed consent
  • When the patient is incapacitated
  • Voluntarily waived consent
  • Cases involving emotionally fragile patients whose conditions may make them refuse necessary treatment
  • Routine treatments like standard medical tests

Informed Consent for Children

Minors ordinarily cannot grant informed consent. Therefore, their parents must consent to any medical treatments. In such cases, such “consent” will be termed “informed permission.” However, legally emancipated children can validly give medical consent.

Emancipated children usually include married minors and children financially independent of their parents or guardians. Since they’ve already taken control of significant aspects of their lives, the law allows them to make informed consent.

Proving Absence of Consent

Where patients don’t give informed consent to treatment, they can sue the erring medical practitioner. Unfortunately, establishing the absence of consent is slightly challenging. You’ll have to prove the elements of medical malpractice and the doctor’s negligence.

So, you must follow these steps:

  • Show that your doctor had a legal and ethical duty to inform you of the risks and benefits of the treatment
  • Establish that your doctor breached this duty by failing to discuss the medical procedure with you properly
  • Prove that you wouldn’t have consented to the treatment if you had the full information, including the related risks
  • Finally, you must prove that you suffered harm because of this treatment you didn’t adequately consent to

Hire the Best Atlanta Medical Malpractice Attorneys!

Have you undergone a medical procedure without giving informed consent? Did your doctor provide relevant information regarding the treatment before you signed the consent form? If they didn’t, then you may be eligible for damages. First, however, you’ll need the best Atlanta personal injury lawyers.

Fortunately, you can get excellent attorneys at Ted A. Greve and Associates. We have a team of lawyers who’ve dedicated their careers to helping personal injury victims. We’ve also won millions of dollars for our clients. So, call us today for a FREE consultation.