Patients have the right to decide what happens to their bodies. This is known as the right to informed consent. Doctors must provide patients with enough information about a medical procedure or treatment so that they can make an informed decision about whether or not to proceed.
When you’re a patient, you have a right to know what will happen to your body during surgery or a procedure. You also have a right to consent before exams and routine bloodwork. As an informed patient, it is important to understand the types of consent and what happens if a medical professional fails to get your consent.
Understanding Informed Consent
Informed consent means that patients have the right to make informed decisions about their medical care. Doctors must provide patients with the information they need to make those decisions.
In general, there are two types of consent; express and implied. Before you undergo any type of medical procedure or surgery, you should know the differences between these two medical consents. If you believe you were not adequately informed of the risks and complications, you may be able to file a medical malpractice claim.
As a patient, you give express consent, either verbally or in writing. Express consent is required for most medical procedures and treatments, especially those with a significant risk of complications.
For example, you must express consent before undergoing surgery, anesthesia, or invasive diagnostic procedures. Your doctor may come into your room to discuss the procedure and its risks and ask if you understand them. You’ll then sign a document stating that you were informed of the procedure and the risks.
The information that doctors must provide to patients when obtaining express consent includes:
- The diagnosis or condition that requires treatment
- The nature of the proposed treatment or procedure
- The potential benefits and risks of the treatment or procedure
- Alternative treatments or procedures that may be available
- The consequences of choosing no treatment
Doctors must also answer patients’ questions about the treatment or procedure.
There are some exceptions to the requirement for express consent. For example, doctors may provide emergency medical care without obtaining express consent if the patient is unconscious or otherwise unable to give consent. Doctors may also provide medical treatment to minors without parental consent if the treatment is necessary to protect the child’s health or safety.
Implied consent is more common in everyday medical practice and assumes that patients know the risks and benefits of routine procedures and treatments. Consent is obtained through body language and an assumption of knowledge.
For example, if you schedule a physical exam, you are likely aware that the doctor will check your vital signs, listen to your heart and lungs, and perform other routine examinations. You also likely understand that these procedures are generally safe and have few risks.
Similarly, if you extend your arm for a blood draw or flu shot, you give consent to that procedure and understand that these procedures are generally safe and have few risks.
However, it is important to note that implied consent is not always appropriate. For example, if the doctor needs to perform a more invasive procedure, such as a colonoscopy or biopsy, they should obtain express consent from the patient. This is because these procedures carry more risks and potential complications.
Even for routine procedures and treatments, patients should always feel comfortable asking questions and requesting more information. You should speak to your doctor if you are unsure about any aspect of a procedure or treatment.
Here are some examples of other situations where implied consent may be appropriate:
- A nurse takes a patient’s vital signs.
- A doctor listens to a patient’s heart and lungs.
- A doctor examines a patient’s throat, ears, and nose.
- A doctor gives a patient a flu shot or other routine vaccination.
- A doctor takes a blood sample or urine sample from a patient.
- A doctor performs a minor surgical procedure, such as suturing a wound or removing a wart.
Informed Consent and Medical Malpractice
You may have a medical malpractice claim if you believe that a doctor has violated your right to informed consent. To succeed, you must show that the doctor failed to provide enough information about the procedure or treatment and that you would not have consented to the procedure or treatment if you had known all the risks and benefits.
Medical malpractice claims based on consent can be complex, but a Florida medical malpractice lawyer can help you assess your case and determine whether you have a valid claim.
Here are some examples of situations where a doctor may have violated your right to informed consent:
- The doctor failed to tell you about the serious risks of the procedure or treatment.
- The doctor downplayed or minimized the risks of the procedure or treatment.
- The doctor failed to tell you about available alternative treatments or procedures.
- The doctor pressured you into consenting to the procedure or treatment.
- The doctor did not give you enough time to consider your options and decide.
If you believe a doctor may have violated your right to informed consent, speak to a medical malpractice lawyer immediately. They can help you understand your legal rights and options.
Contact Our Florida Medical Malpractice Attorney Today
If you believe you or a loved one has been the victim of medical malpractice, contact a Florida medical malpractice lawyer today for a free consultation. At Prosper Shaked Accident Injury Attorneys, PA, our medical malpractice lawyers can help you understand your legal rights and options after suffering a serious injury or medical complication. If your doctor fails to get your consent before performing a surgery or procedure, we can help you hold them accountable.
Let Prosper Shaked help you through this difficult time. Call us for a FREE consultation and review of your case at 305-694-2676 or fill out our confidential contact form. We fight for the rights of medical malpractice victims. Call us today!