Doctors are required to secure a patient’s informed consent before they can perform certain medical procedures or give treatment. A competent adult patient has the right to decide what may or may not be done to them, including accepting and denying treatments. Before a patient can make that call, doctors are obligated to go over the potential risks, benefits, and any alternative courses of action with patients. Otherwise, patients did not truly give their informed consent to undergo dangerous procedures or treatment. If a doctor attempts to obtain a patient’s informed consent in one of the following ways, it raises questions as to whether the patient was adequately informed to give their permission, and there may be a medical malpractice case.
Securing a Signature, Without a Discussion
Documenting informed consent is exceedingly important, but it’s much more than obtaining a patient’s signature on paper. Doctors can’t carry out treatment until the patient gives consent — or informed refusal — yet the patient can’t provide an acceptable answer if they don’t fully understand the risks and complications associated with a recommended course of treatment. The law requires that the doctor discloses all pertinent information so the patient can make their informed decision, which is best done through a thorough conversation.
Not Following Protocol
As previously mentioned, documentation is essential. Doctors that fail to adhere to proper protocol in documenting the process can eventually find themselves in a medical malpractice case for not receiving informed consent, and with no proof to dispute it. These details should not be overlooked, such as getting witness signatures or dating the document.
Asking Incoherent Patients
Sedated patients and patients with altered state of mind cannot give informed consent. Since the authority to decide whether to go forward with treatment lies in the hands of the patient, they must be able to understand and assess their situation fully before giving informed consent.
Informed Consent for Each Serious Procedure
Informed consent must be obtained for each serious procedure before the doctor can proceed. When going over informed consent, in a detailed discussion, the doctor should go over various scenarios and complications that may occur during a procedure. That way, they will already have informed consent from the patient on what they can or cannot do should they encounter the very scenarios discussed beforehand. Failure to do so may constitute medical malpractice.
Contact The Law Offices of Cardaro & Peek, LLC Today
Do you believe that you or your loved one has suffered as a result of medical malpractice or medical neglect? You need to talk to an experienced team of local lawyers today.
The lawyers at Cardaro & Peek, LLC have the experience and resources necessary to investigate and litigate all types of medical claims throughout Maryland and Washington D.C. Cardaro & Peek, LLC has medical personnel on staff and has access to nationally recognized, board-certified physicians and other experts, to assist in the investigation, analysis, and prosecution of all types of medical malpractice claims. If you or a loved one have experienced malpractice, give us a call at 410-752-6166. Please visit our website www.cardarolaw.com and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn for more information.