In most cases, when a patient enlists the services of a physician or medical facility, one can assume that some level of risk will be involved. It’s therefore prudent that a physician or other medical professional inform the patient about whatever procedure or test they are about to undergo, particularly with regard to risks. This is vitally important to ensure the patient is has a crystal clear understanding of the overall impact and risks involved.
For example, when a physician is about to undergo a plastic surgery procedure, they must be informed of the potential hazards involved, even though it is an elective procedure. This is so that when the patient consents to the procedure, it can be an “informed content.” Without informed consent, when a patient suffers harm as a result of the procedure, the physician and/or hospital may be held liable for personal injury damages.
To document informed consent in medical procedures, tests and treatment, physicians and hospitals typically provide forms that document that the standard risks and possible complications that the patient may be exposed to have been adequately explained in advance. Patients often must sign these documents before the hospital or physician will proceed with the treatment or medical procedure. Furthermore, it’s important that the physician discuss all of the important factors of the procedure or treatment that they are about to undergo and ensure that they understand the inherent risks involved, so that they can ensure that they are comfortable that the patient understands potential side-effect and complications before the procedure or treatment begins.
After informed consent has been established, should the physician or facility move forward with a procedure or treatment or even medication administration that differs from the one previously explained to the patient, the patient may, in fact, have provocation for filing a medical malpractice claim. Often, that is the case when the alternate treatment was administered by mistake. There are, however, occasions when in the midst of performing the initial procedure—the one initial explained beforehand—the physician discovers a medical issue that requires immediate attention, the necessary (new) procedure may be performed without informed consent.
Proving liability do to a lack of informed consent when a patient is injured during a treatment or procedure can become even more complicated when sussing out whether a physician behaved in a way that any other physician with their background and experience would have with regard to obtaining informed consent. The patient’s medical history, standard risks involved, probability of those risks presenting in a given case, may all factor into whether or not informed consent needed to be established in advanced when looking at personal injury harm.
Also, there are some circumstance where informed consent is simply not required. Medical emergencies, for instance, do not necessarily require informed consent. Sometimes circumstances simply do not allow for the luxury of time or occasion to inform the patient of the risks involved in a very necessary procedure or treatment. Take car accidents, for instance, where the patient is unconscious and requires immediate care. The physician has the right to provide a general standard of care to ensure the patient has every chance of survival.
If you would like to speak with an experienced medical malpractice attorney or have questions about filing a claim, contact Bizzieri Law Offices in Chicago. We have the experience you need to recover the damages you deserve. Call us at 773.881.9000 today.