Violations of Patient Consent
Medical malpractice occurs when doctors, nurses, and other health care providers fail to treat patients in accordance to the accepted standard of care. In medical settings, substandard care can take many forms, and while many commonly associate malpractice with errors during surgery or mistakes when prescribing medications, it can also happen when medical professionals perform certain treatment without a patient’s permission.
Health care providers are required to have a patient’s consent when providing treatment. When they fail to obtain consent and administer treatment, they may face administrative or even criminal consequences for their negligence, depending on the situation. When that negligence results in a patient suffering undue injury, victims may have grounds to pursue a medical malpractice claim.
Our West Palm Beach medical malpractice lawyers at Clark, Fountain, La Vista, Littky-Rubin & Whitman have earned national recognition for their work representing victims and families harmed by negligent health care providers. If you or someone you love suffered injury as a result of treatment for which you did not provide your consent, our award-winning legal team can help you learn more about your rights and options.
Understanding Patient Consent
Doctors have a duty to inform patients about treatment recommendations and any inherent risks involved. When patients have this information and agree to a proposed treatment or procedure, they have provided their informed consent.
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In many cases, physicians will have patients sign a consent form detailing a treatment approach or procedure and associated risks. Obtaining written consent, or express consent, is common prior to surgery. However, express consent does not mean that a patient provides their informed consent. Doctors have an obligation to discuss procedures and risks with patients, and to ensure they understand, as well as they can, the risks they face.
There are certain situations when informed consent is not required. These may include:
- Emergency medical situations
- Emotionally fragile patients
Medical Malpractice Claims & Lack of Consent
Violations of patient consent may include a range of situations, but they often involve those where surgery is performed on the wrong site or body part, or when a doctor performs an additional procedure that a patient did not consent to during an approved operation. Patients may also pursue lack of consent claims when they experience complications they were not informed about in consent forms or by their doctor.
Patient consent violations generally fall into the following categories:
- Failure to identify – No doctor is expected to foresee every possible complication associated with a procedure or treatment, but those that are medically documented and known to the medical community, even if rare, have reason to be included on consent forms.
- Failure to properly describe description – Consent documents must provide accurate representations of risks and complications. Failures in the description of what a procedure entails or the risks a procedure poses commonly involve misstatements or inaccuracies, including inaccuracies about the frequency at which complications occur. For example, patients may be more inclined to undergo a procedure with a serious complication that a consent form says affects only 1 percent of patients, when it really affects far more.
Informed consent is critical in any doctor-patient relationship, and it is the standard of care reasonable and skillful medical professionals are expected to provide. When they fail to do so and patients suffer harm, they can be held liable for victims’ damages.
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Our patient consent violation attorneys have earned national recognition for securing successful results in challenging cases. If you have questions regarding violations of patient consent and medical malpractice claims, contact us for a free case evaluation.