One particular type of medical malpractice case involves a lack of informed consent. The National Cancer Institute sheds some light on this subject by explaining some basic definitions of informed consent.
When a physician suggests a clinical trial, one that you must first qualify for, you will be given the option to participate in the trial. Making such a decision will require some explanation and research. Lack of informed consent is not the exact same thing as a basic waiver of doctor liability. The National Cancer Institute also states that there are two primary parts to informed consent: a document and a process.
The document must provide a complete summary of the clinical trial for the patient’s reading. This document must summarize the type of treatment, the schedule and procedures, the purpose of the treatment and all potential risks and benefits. There must also be details regarding alternatives to this risky treatment. The next stage in lack of informed consent involves a process of conversation and discussion. When, after hearing and reading all the details, you decide to go through with the surgery, you sign the document. This purpose of such a document is to help patients make educated decisions as to their future instead of emotional ones.
As you read along with the National Cancer Institute’s “myths and realities” section of lack of informed consent, we uncover a definite medical truth: a doctor should not claim to know what’s best for the patient, if he desires to be waived from legal liability. The whole point of such a document is to show that the patient is the party who is primarily responsible for the outcome and the one who makes the final decision. No medical expert can predict with 100 percent accuracy what will happen during treatment or even during an evaluation. Therefore, patients should never be pressured into signing such a document unless they thoroughly understand the risks involved and are convinced by research-not a doctor’s word necessarily-that this is the best option. Otherwise, this could lead to a medical malpractice lawsuit.
The National Cancer Institute makes another powerful statement: “Even after you sign the form, you are free to change your mind and decide not to participate. You also have the right to leave a clinical trial at any time for any reason, without forfeiting access to other treatment.” A patient retains the right to discontinue treatment at all times. After all, you are paying your insurance company and your doctor for medical services given to you-not the other way around.
Now you understand why lack of informed consent is a major medical malpractice issue. There should be no such thing as a lack of informed consent, considering how stringent hospitals are about denying malpractice accusations. Unfortunately, incidents do happen where doctors succeed in overriding the patient’s wishes, or even perform risky procedures with no patient’s consent. In some cases, a patient may have no idea what the doctor is planning.
You may be well aware of scenarios like this. In fact, you may have already suffered because of a doctor’s negligent behavior and been exposed to health risks with no patient’s consent.
You may have even lost a loved one because of the rash actions of a medical professional. You do not have to cover the financial burden for someone else’s mistake-especially if you never gave your permission to begin with. Contact our Dallas medical malpractice lawyer for a free consultation.