Could informed consent be a basis for a malpractice case?

On Behalf of | Oct 2, 2023 | Medical malpractice

In a 101-patient study, the Annals of Medicine and Surgery 2022 revealed that 91.1% found informed consent important in medical procedures. In the world of healthcare, informed consent is a fundamental principle that governs the patient-doctor relationship.

This is not just a legal formality but a cornerstone of ethical medical practice. Understanding the significance of informed consent is important for patients, as it can play a role in medical malpractice cases.

Informed consent defined

Informed consent begins with a patient gets comprehensive information about a proposed medical procedure, treatment or surgery. Patients can then make educated decisions about their healthcare and decide how they wish to move forward.

Elements of informed consent

For informed consent to be valid, several key elements must be in place. Patients must receive clear and comprehensible information about the proposed treatment, its purpose, risks, benefits and any available alternatives. They must freely and willingly agree to the treatment without any coercion or pressure.

They must have the mental capacity to understand the information provided and make a rational decision. Patients must express their consent either through written or verbal means, depending on the healthcare facility’s policies.

Lack of informed consent

When a patient believes that the doctor did not obtain his or her informed consent, it can form the basis of a medical malpractice claim. For instance, if a doctor fails to disclose potential risks associated with a surgery, and the patient suffers harm as a result, this could be grounds for a malpractice case.

Informed consent is something that patients must understand. It is imperative to stand up and insist on proper follow-through as this is one of the best tools for people to use to advocate for themselves when receiving medical care.