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What Does Informed Consent Mean in a Medical Malpractice Claim?

Posted on behalf of Goldberg Finnegan, LLC on Nov 01, 2018 in Medical Malpractice

informed consent medical malpracticeThere are often risks associated with many types of medical treatments. Patients may suffer additional injuries or complications that could cause their condition to worsen or lead to other problems. This is why medical professionals are required to give patients informed consent about the pros and cons of a treatment or procedure. If patients are not adequately informed and they suffer an injury, the medical provider could be held liable.

The reputable Silver Spring medical malpractice attorneys at Goldberg Finnegan can review your case during a free consultation and see if the medical provider was required to obtain informed consent from you. If your health care provider proceeded without your consent, an experienced y can examine if you might be entitled to compensation.

The Basics of Informed Consent

Informed consent allows patients to play a meaningful role in their own health care and to make informed decisions related to it. A health care provider is required to explain the proposed treatment or medical procedure and the risks associated with it before starting the procedure. A health care provider must explain the following information to the patient:

  • The nature of the medical condition
  • The nature of the proposed treatment
  • The benefits of the proposed treatment
  • The probability of a successful outcome of the proposed treatment and its alternatives
  • The risk of potential side effects and other adverse events

When the patient has this information, he or she can make an intelligent and informed decision about whether or not to partake in the proposed treatment.

Material Risks

Health care providers are not required to provide information about every possible risk of a proposed treatment. Informed consent requirements in Maryland only apply to those risks that are considered material. A material risk is one that a health care provider knows would be significant to a reasonable person in the patient’s position. Whether a risk is considered “material” depends on the jury’s opinion, based upon what a reasonable patient would believe to be material or important.

Maryland courts consider what the patient would need to know to be able to understand the decision at hand. They consider whether a normal patient would have made a different decision if he or she was properly informed of the risk. Courts consider whether another patient with the same medical history and medical conditions would have made a different decision if he or she was aware of the risk.

If a health care provider fails to acquire informed consent when necessary and the patient is injured as a result, he or she may be held liable for medical malpractice.

When Is Informed Consent Not Necessary?

Informed consent is not always necessary. It does not apply in medical emergencies when there is inadequate time to describe the potential risks and the health care provider must act quickly in order to minimize harm or save a patient’s life.

Additionally, informed consent only applies to mentally competent patients. If the patient does not understand the information, he or she is not required to give consent. However, consent may still be necessary through the individual’s health care proxy or conservator. In some situations, doctors may not be required to obtain informed consent from an emotionally fragile patient who would be adversely affected by this information.

Contact an Experienced Medical Malpractice Attorney for a Free Consultation

If you were injured because your health care provider failed to acquire your informed consent, a seasoned attorney from Goldberg Finnegan can help. Our medical malpractice attorneys are experienced at pursuing claims when a health care provider’s care fell below the required standard, including in situations where the medical provider failed to acquire the necessary consent.

A skilled medical malpractice lawyer can review your situation during a free case review and determine if you have a viable claim based on lack of informed consent. These cases are often quite complex and require the skill and knowledge of an experienced medical malpractice attorney. 

Contact us to learn about your rights and to explore possible options in your case. Call (888) 213-8140.

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