Most California residents experience anxiety when they are diagnosed with an illness that requires unfamiliar treatment. In such cases, most patients trust their physician to fully explain the illness and treatment. The patient should have the right to decide ultimately whether he or she wants to go ahead with the procedure or treatment. Unauthorized treatment may lead to a medical malpractice lawsuit.
This process is called informed consent and requires a medical professional to explain the diagnosis and treatment options in layman’s terms. In addition, he or she should explain to the patient what will be the potential consequences of not having the treatment or procedure. Patients should be made aware of all risks that are involved and exactly what side-effects medication could have, or potential post-surgical complications that may arise. There are exceptions, such as emergency cases where a patient’s life depends on immediate medical action.
Children and mentally handicapped individuals are not able to give informed consent, and in cases where such people need medical treatment or procedures, a parent or guardian, or the person with medical power of attorney will have to sign informed consent documents. If a physician fails to explain all the facts and obtain informed consent from the patient, he or she may have to face a medical malpractice lawsuit if anything goes wrong. Affected patients would, however, have to prove the absence of informed consent. Secondly, it will be necessary to show that treatment would have been confused had the risks been explained.
If you have suffered personal injury in a medical procedure that was not properly explained and did not sign an informed consent form, you may benefit by consulting an experienced California medical malpractice attorney. After your unique circumstances have been assessed, possible legal remedies will be discussed. If a decision is made to move forward with a legal claim, evidence will be gathered to prove negligence in a civil court. Successful presentation of such a claim may lead to monetary compensation for immediate and potential future medical and other expenses that resulted. More information on medical malpractice may be found on our medical malpractice website.
Source: FindLaw, “Informed Consent and Unauthorized Treatment“, Nov. 16, 2014