The phrase “informed consent” is often used in medical malpractice cases, but what does it mean? Informed consent is the legal term for a patient providing their agreement to a medical treatment or procedure after being fully informed of all risks, benefits, and alternatives of that treatment. If a patient is not adequately informed of these factors, they may be able to file a medical malpractice lawsuit against their healthcare provider.
Contact our Santa Fe medical malpractice lawyers at Slate Stern Law to evaluate your unique case and determine if you have grounds to file a medical malpractice lawsuit for lack of informed consent.
What Does ‘Informed Consent’ Mean?
In order for informed consent to be valid, a patient must have received all relevant information about their diagnosis, prognosis, recommended treatments, possible risks and outcomes associated with those treatments, and any other available options. This includes any potential side effects and the likelihood of success or failure. A doctor must also explain the procedure in language that can be easily understood by the patient. If a doctor fails to provide this information or provides inaccurate information, then it could result in an actionable claim for medical malpractice.
Individuals who feel like they were not properly informed before receiving care from their healthcare provider may have grounds for filing a medical malpractice lawsuit based on lack of informed consent. This requires evidence that the injury was indeed caused by this lack of proper authorization from the patient.
When is Informed Consent Necessary?
Not all medical procedures require informed consent. Generally speaking, if there is no risk associated with a particular procedure, then there is no need for informed consent (for example, getting your blood pressure checked). However, if any risk is involved, then informed consent must be obtained before any treatment or procedure starts. This includes surgeries, medications with potential side effects or interactions with other medicines, radiation therapy, and other cancer treatments such as chemotherapy or immunotherapy.
Can You File a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit Based on a Lack of Informed Consent?
A patient can file a medical malpractice lawsuit based on lack of informed consent if they can prove that their healthcare provider failed to adequately inform them of all relevant risks associated with their proposed treatment plan or did not obtain proper authorization before beginning treatment. It is important to keep in mind that filing such a lawsuit will require evidence that the lack of informed consent caused harm or injury—without this evidence, an individual cannot prevail in court when suing for medical negligence due to lack of informed consent.
If you are considering filing a medical malpractice lawsuit for lack of informed consent, you have a limited amount of time to do that. Under Pennsylvania law, patients have only two years to file a medical malpractice lawsuit against the negligent doctor or hospital (42 Pa. C.S. § 5524).
Get the Legal Guidance You Need
Obtaining proper informed consent from patients before beginning any type of treatment or procedure is essential for healthcare providers to remain within legal boundaries when practicing medicine—especially when it comes to more invasive procedures such as surgery or chemotherapy, which carry significant risks of harm should something go wrong during the course of treatment.
Individuals considering filing a medical malpractice lawsuit for lack of informed consent should speak with an experienced medical attorney who can help them better understand their rights under the law and provide guidance throughout the process. Contact Slate Stern Law to discuss your particular case and determine your best course of action. Call (505) 814-1517 to schedule a consultation.