What is “informed consent”?

Aug 3rd, 2015 | Firm News

In Connecticut, patients may feel powerless when it comes to their doctor’s decisions. After all, doctors are trained in their field, so patients may feel like they should know exactly what they are doing. But when their doctor abuses their power over their patients, medical malpractice suits may follow. This is especially true if medical professionals perform treatments without getting permission to do so, or without receiving informed consent.

There are many criteria that must be met in order for a doctor to rightly say they received informed consent. First, they must explain to the patient why the treatment or procedure is a good idea. Next, they must present viable alternative to the procedure, and why the treatment being given was chosen instead. In this explanation, they must also describe the benefits, risks and any uncertainties associated with the treatment. Finally, the doctor must ensure the patient fully understands the above information, and give their consent for the procedure to be performed. If the patient is incapable physically or mentally to give their consent, their proxy should provide it instead, if they are present.

Doctors cannot coerce consent from a patient. It must be made voluntarily and in full understanding of the ramifications. Though patients do not need every intricate detail of the treatment, they should know enough to truly understand it. This may vary from patient to patient, depending on their mental capacity.

If you received a harmful procedure and you did not give your informed consent, this may be grounds for a medical malpractice case. It may be beneficial to contact an attorney and discuss your case; you may be entitled to compensation.