A Lack of Informed Consent and Medical Care

Many people have heard of the term medical malpractice before, but many are confused as to what the term means. Medical malpractice refers to a legal cause of action when a medical professional injures a patient by deviating from medical standards and guidelines. In these cases, the patient is entitled to financial compensation based on the severity of their injuries and suffering. 

One type of medical malpractice is a lack of informed consent on the part of the patient, but the doctor proceeds to operate or perform a medical procedure. Former Supreme Court Justice Cardozo summed up the idea of informed consent in a ruling in 1914:

“Every human being of adult years and sound mind has a right to determine what shall be done with his own body, and a surgeon who performs an operation without his patient’s consent commits an assault for which he is liable in damages.”

When this tenet is violated, medical malpractice has occurred. If you or a loved one believes they have been operated upon without informed consent, keep reading. You’ll learn more about what informed consent is, and how to take your case to an attorney.

What is Informed Consent? 

If the above quote didn’t work for you, maybe it will help if I break it down in less legal terms. Patients are entitled to receive information from their doctor about their recommendation of care so they can make a decision on how they wish to proceed. Additionally, a patient has the right to accept or reject a doctor’s recommendation of care. 

When informing the patient about their options, a doctor or other medical professional should provide the following information:

  • The diagnosis (when all information is available to make one)
  • Recommended courses of treatments and their purpose
  • The benefits and the risks of all available options

This information is provided so you are able to make an informed decision about what path of care you would like to pursue. 

What do Do

If you have had an operation or another form of treatment performed on you without your informed consent, you have options. The first thing on your to-do list should be to reach out to an attorney as soon as possible. 

First, your attorney will let you know if the situation you experienced violated the tenet of informed consent. After that determination is made, your attorney can handle the rest of the process to ensure that you get the compensation you need for your injuries. Medical malpractice cases are difficult in that they merge the medical field with the legal field, and because of this, an experienced attorney is needed. Don’t attempt to represent yourself — your health and financial security are on the line!

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