What is informed consent?


Going to the doctor's office can be an overwhelming experience for a Pittsburgh resident. Not just because they will have their body examined for injuries and illnesses but also because they may be subjected to what seems like an endless pile of paperwork to fill out. Often when individuals visit their medical professionals they must fill out forms related to their current states of health, changes to their contact and insurance information, and releases related to their medical records.

Just like other types of industries, the medical field is subject to regulation and therefore must ensure that the patients they treat are done so in accordance with current laws. One law that is practically universal throughout the United States is the requirement that a doctor received informed consent from their patient before they initiate a course of treatment for an ailment.

In order for a patient to be able to provide informed consent they must be made aware of a number of treatment-related facts. For example, they must understand what ailment the doctor believes they have and what options they have for treating that ailment. They also must be made aware of any risks that may be associated with the different treatment paths and must be told what their health prognoses may be for each option. Once that information is shared a patient may knowledgeably decide what course to follow for the treatment of their ailment.

Special circumstances exist where another person may give their informed consent for the treatment of another person, such as when a parent authorizes medical treatment for their child. However, if a doctor treats a patient without first receiving informed consent they may have committed medical negligence. This form of negligence is often compensable through medical malpractice lawsuits and may provide victims with the damages they require after suffering at the hands of negligent medical practitioners.

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Pittsburgh, PA 15219

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