Regardless of the reason why you go to the doctor, chances are that you’re required to fill out and sign a large amount of paperwork. Reading through it all can be daunting, especially when all you want is to receive treatment for your condition. In many instances, though, these documents authorize a doctor to treat you for the condition with which you have been diagnosed.
If the need arises for you to have surgery, then you’ll probably be asked to give informed consent. This usually occurs by signing a document, but your doctor should also discuss the matter with you. In short, informed consent means that you authorize a particular course of treatment only after receiving all pertinent information that is relevant to making the decision. As such, informed consent can typically includes:
- Your prognosis
- The treatment options available to you
- The risks associated with each treatment option
- The benefits of each treatment option
- The likely outcome if you forego treatment
In order for informed consent to be given, you must be given the opportunity to ask questions about your condition and your treatment options. You should also know that you have the right to refuse any or all treatment options, regardless of what your doctor says. You also have the right to revoke your consent at any time.
Why is this information important? It’s important because medical errors happen all the time. While some of them are simply risks associated with your approved course of treatment, others are caused by doctor negligence. In other instances, medical professionals either fail to obtain informed consent or they go beyond the bound of informed consent and subsequently cause the patient harm.
This outcome is unacceptable, and these medical professionals need to be held accountable for their negligence. So, if you’ve been hurt during the course of a medical procedure or some other form of treatment, you might want to talk to your medical malpractice attorney to determine if legal action is right for you.