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!

All About Medical Malpractice

The medical industry is so complicated that, typically, you need a professional license to prove your competence. But there are instances where even the most competent medical professional becomes negligent or reckless, resulting into the harm of their patients, either through injury or medical complication.

Medical malpractice is a serious issue. Those who have been victims of medical malpractice may take legal action against the responsible parties, such as getting compensation from the damages they have sustained. The attorneys of the Erez Law firm understand the importance of taking legal action when one party’s negligence negatively affects innocent parties.

But how can it be determined that an instance is a medical malpractice case? There are variables that can be considered:

  • There is a direct professional-patient relationship
  • The professional has the duty of care for the patient
  • The professional has acted or failed to act in a way that violates the duty of care
  • The violation has harmed the patient in any form

Unnecessarily harming the patient has a variety of consequences. The patient suffers not just from unwarranted injuries and complications, but also from unwarranted medical costs to fix the problems, such as corrective surgeries and prolonged hospital confinements.

Of course, these costs do not come free, and on the worst instances, may even reach thousands upon thousands of dollars. The financial burdens do not end there. Being a victim of medical malpractice may also mean that the patient is going to lose time at work, and therefore cannot earn a living. On worst instances, the medical malpractice may even disable the victim, making him lose his ability to earn a living temporarily or permanently.

The website of Crowe & Mulvey, LLP has enumerated various areas where medical malpractice can arise as an issue. But some areas are more common than others. Below are some of the most common medical malpractice claims:

  • Anesthesia errors, such as giving too much or too little anesthesia
  • Birth injuries sustained either during the pregnancy or delivery
  • Emergency room errors, like failing to give adequate treatment immediately
  • Hospital negligence, such as treatment delays and lack of attention to patients
  • Medication errors, like giving the wrong drug or wrong dosage
  • Misdiagnosis, such as diagnosing a healthy patient as ill or vice versa
  • Surgical errors, like accidentally puncturing organs or operating on the wrong body part