When you visit the doctor, dentist, or any other medical professional, you expect to receive care that is reasonable. Part of receiving reasonable care is being properly informed of all of the benefits as well as the risks associated with a particular health plan that is suggested or recommended to you.
Essentially, informed consent aims to protect both patients and medical professionals from undue harm. Read on to learn more about how this is achieved.
Informed Consent Protects Patients
Making decisions about your healthcare can feel daunting and perhaps even overwhelming at times. However, your doctor should be there to help guide you through the process so you feel comfortable about the choices you make regarding your treatment.
As a patient, you have the right to obtain information and seek answers about treatments recommended to you so you are able to make well-informed decisions about the care you receive.
According to the American Medical Association (AMA), “Successful communication in the patient-physician relationship fosters trust and supports shared decision making.”
The AMA recommends physicians do the following when seeking informed consent from you:
- Evaluate how well you understand the medical information relevant to your condition and the possibilities of alternative treatments and make a decision that is both independent and voluntary.
- Offer the associated information correctly and gently, remaining aligned with your wishes regarding receiving medical information. Your doctor should include the following:
- Your diagnosis (when available).
- The scope and reason for suggested interventions.
- The burdens, risks, and predicted advantages of all your options, including ceding treatment.
- Keep a record of your informed consent conversation and your choice is noted within the record in some fashion. If you provide specific written consent, your consent form should also be incorporated into the record.
Under an emergency situation in which a choice must be made right away and you are unable to partake in the decisionmaking process, doctors have the right to begin treatment without previously obtaining informed consent.
When such a circumstance occurs, your doctor should inform you as soon as possible and acquire your consent for ongoing care, keeping in mind the guidelines you sign off on.
Everyone Involved Benefits from Informed Consent
As mentioned, informed consent protects both patients and physicians from harm. It is obvious how you, as a patient, are protected, as informed consent provides you with everything you need to know to make educated decisions about your care.
Similarly, when physicians provide patients with all they should know about a treatment plan before it is implemented, they are protected from litigation.
However, when your physician fails to properly warn you of all the potential risks and side effects associated with a particular treatment plan, consequences may result.
In order to have a viable case against your doctor for informed consent, you must endure some sort of harm you were not expecting because your physician did not adequately inform you of the potential risks involved with the recommended treatment.
The following elements must exist in order to have a viable informed consent medical malpractice case against your doctor:
- You establish an official doctor-patient relationship.
- The medical professional fails to administer the approved standard of care.
- You sustain an injury as a result of your physician’s neglect to properly obtain your informed consent.
- Your injuries prompt quantifiable losses (economic and/or non-economic).
We’re Here to Help Injured Victims
If your physician did not sufficiently warn you of the potential risks and side effects of a particular treatment plan suggested to you and you were harmed as a result, you may be owed compensation for your losses. Don’t hesitate to reach out to our team right away to learn more about what we can do to help with your case.