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Informed consent and medical malpractice claims

Have you ever actually read those medical waivers you sign before a doctor or hospital administers care? Of course not, it's all a bunch of legal mumbo-jumbo, and if someone needs medical care, it's likely they need it sooner rather than later. Regardless of what the administrative forms are telling you, it's the hospital's duty to administer them prior to treatment. In the same way, it is a doctor's duty to explain his treatment plan and address any and all complications that could arise from such care.

This is what's referred to as a doctor's duty to give informed consent to a patient. Informed consent specifics vary by state, but generally it covers a doctor's obligation to tell a patient about all of the potential benefits, risks, and alternatives involved in any surgical procedure, or medical procedure. It also includes courses of treatment, and all informed consent must be taken in writing which demonstrates the patient's consent to proceed. Any failure of this process on behalf of the medical professional could warrant medical malpractice suit.

This would be advisable for those who were injured due to a procedure or treatment that caused injuries and especially if those injuries were no fully disclosed or forewarned by the attending physician. It is only right that a patient understand the inherent benefits or potential risks that a medical treatment or procedure could inflict on them. Since most patients are not medical professionals, the potential risks may not always be clear prior to treatment, especially without an explanation by the attending physician. Doctors are obligated to share all of what is known about medical procedures and treatments before administering them to patients.

While this may be common practice for doctors, it does happen where the treatments are not fully explained before their administration. This can leave patients stunned at the side-effects or medical ailments the treatment has had upon their health. They thought they were getting better; instead their health only worsened - and with no forewarning. Medical professionals are obligated to divulge the potential outcome of treatment; whether positive or negative.

Source: injury.findlaw.com, "Proving Fault in Medical Malpractice Cases," Accessed August 22, 2016

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