What is the Importance of Informed Consent?
Before you undergo a surgical procedure or medical treatment, your doctor must inform you of any of the risks involved. You can accept the risks and proceed, or you can decline to move forward after having a chance to weigh the risks against the potential benefits you might receive. In medical and legal terminology, this process is known as informed consent. If your doctor failed to inform you of the possible risks you could experience and you sustain injuries, you could have a viable medical malpractice case. Make sure you reach out to a skilled and experienced medical malpractice attorney who will be able to fight on your behalf for the compensation you deserve.
What Risks Need to be Disclosed?
Although your doctor must inform you of the risks associated with a procedure or treatment, this does not mean he or she has to tell you every possible risk that could happen. Instead, your doctor only has to inform you of the risks that are most important or statistically more likely to happen. If a bad result is only a remote possibility, your doctor does not have to disclose it.
Informed Consent is Not Always Required
There are some situations in which informed consent is not unnecessary. This includes:
- Emergencies: When a medical emergency occurs, there is generally no time for a physician to explain and describe the risks involved with a procedure. Failing to act could potentially lead to the death of the patient and, as such, patients are not allowed to sue due to a lack of informed consent in these situations, regardless if he or she would have allowed the treatment or not.
- Emotionally fragile or unstable patients: In cases where a doctor is aware that his or her patient is too distressed to accept necessary treatment, it might not be necessary to obtain the patient’s informed consent. For example, if a patient is suffering from a life-threatening brain tumor and the removal of it risks paralysis, the doctor might choose to be vague when describing the risks to the patient. Additionally, if disclosing too much information can make an already weak and frail patient sick with anxiety, his or her physician can choose to withhold some information. In order for this defense to work, however, a doctor must be able to clearly explain why the risks were not disclosed to the patient.
Performing a Different Procedure
If a doctor performs a second procedure, in addition to the first one, but only obtained informed consent for the first, the patient could still the doctor, even if the procedure was successful. To have a claim under these circumstances, the second procedure would have to either be a mistake or unnecessary.
Skilled Medical Malpractice Attorneys in Tulsa
If you sustained injuries that could have been avoided if you were informed of the medical risks associated with a treatment or procedure, you have a right to hold the responsible party liable for their actions. At Richardson Richardson Boudreaux, PLLC, in Tulsa, our medical malpractice attorneys are backed by a proven track record of success and fierce dedication to every client we serve.
Get started on your medical malpractice case today and reach out to our law firm at (918) 347-6456 to request a free initial case evaluation. You will not owe us any legal fees unless we are able to win your case.