Medical Malpractice: Questions About Informed Consent

10/29/2013 // jcreiterlaw // Law Firm of Jonathan C. Reiter // (press release)

Informed consent is typically required prior to a doctor performing a proposed medical procedure or treatment. Many people have questions about what constitutes informed consent and whether there are circumstances under which it may not be required. In short, informed consent is an agreement to be treated, tested, or to undergo a medical procedure after a patient is provided information about the potential risks and benefits of what will be done. Providing such information gives patients the opportunity to make a knowledgeable choice about whether to go forward with the medical treatment. Failure to obtain informed consent from patients may help lay the grounds for a medical malpractice claim if the patient becomes injured.

Because it is not plausible for doctors to outline every possible consequence that may arise from a medical treatment or procedure, a number of factors may determine what information must be provided to a patient when obtaining informed consent. These primarily include whether there are identified potential health risks, whether another doctor under the same circumstances would have informed the patient about the risks, and whether a patient would have reasonably made a different decision if the risks had been disclosed to them.

There are limited circumstances where informed consent may not be required, including an emergency where quick action must be taken by a doctor in order to save a patient’s life, and in circumstances where a patient is exhibiting emotional distress that may lead them to refuse medical treatment if the full extent of risks are known. Another situation that may absolve a medical practitioner from a claim for medical malpractice for not obtaining informed consent is when an unknown health complication is found and treated during the course of administering treatment for another illness. For example if a doctor is operating on an organ and discovers another serious issue during the operation that he also chooses to fix, it may not require additional consent.

Individuals who have been injured as a result of undergoing a medical procedure or treatment for which they did not provide informed consent, or those who have questions they have for a New York medical malpractice attorney about another medical malpractice concern can contact The Law Firm of Jonathan C. Reiter today to obtain a free case evaluation.

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