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Informed Consent in the Context of Medical Malpractice Cases

informed consent medical malpracticeBefore treatment is provided, medical professionals are required to give the patient information regarding the treatment’s risks. If a medical professional failed to obtain your informed consent before providing treatment that caused you harm, you may have a claim for medical malpractice.

Our Harrisburg medical malpractice lawyers go over the basics of informed consent in medical malpractice cases. If you require assistance, please contact us to schedule a free, no obligation consultation today.

What is Informed Consent and What Does It Mean?

Medical professionals are required by law to obtain your permission (or the permission of your legal representative) prior to performing any medical treatment or procedure. This involves providing information about possible risks, complications and benefits of the proposed treatment. Medical professionals must ensure you understand the information you are given, and are not just being told.

You have the right to decide what medical treatment you do or do not undergo. To be able to make an informed decision, you must have been given this information. Informed consent should include the following elements:

  • A discussion with your actual physician, not his or her representative
  • Your diagnosis, if known
  • An explanation of the treatment your physician is proposing and the treatment’s intended purpose
  • The risks and benefits of having the proposed medical treatment
  • The risks and benefits of not having the proposed medical treatment
  • Information regarding reasonable alternative medical treatments
  • The risks and benefits of reasonable alternative medical treatments
  • The risks and benefits of not undergoing any medical treatment

Before treatment, you will be asked to sign a document acknowledging that you received the above information and were properly informed of the medical treatment you are about to receive. Your name, date, and signature are required along with the signature of your physician’s or facility’s legal representative. You should be given a copy of your informed consent statement, as well as a copy to be added to your medical file.

Exceptions Regarding Informed Consent

There are a few situations where informed consent is not required for a medical professional to perform treatment. These include:

Medical Emergencies

In an emergency situation, medical professionals are acting quickly to deliver life-saving care. Time is typically not available to discuss all the risks involved with a particular medical treatment.

Distressed Patients

If a physician is aware that a patient is under distress and will refuse a needed treatment due to it, informed consent may not be required. In life-threatening situations, frightening risks may be involved – hearing about these possible risks may cause a patient to decline needed medical treatment. A physician may deem it appropriate to withhold or be vague about the risks involved.

Proving Lack of Informed Consent Lead to Malpractice

Simply showing that your physician did not obtain your informed consent prior to providing medical treatment is not typically enough to prove a medical malpractice lawsuit. A connection must be made between your lack of consent and the injury that you suffered due to the treatment.

The connection typically must show that you would not have given your consent for the medical treatment. You must also prove that the medical outcome of the treatment would have been different had you been given the chance to give or not to give your informed consent.

Contact Schmidt Kramer for Legal Help

If you or a loved one has been the victim of medical malpractice, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Our Harrisburg personal injury attorneys will review your case and discuss any legal options that may be available in your situation.

Request a free, no obligation consultation today. There are no upfront fees and payment is only due if we recover compensation for you.

Call (717) 888-8888 or fill out our Free Case Review form now.