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A doctor did not get your informed consent. Is that malpractice?

On Behalf of | Jul 15, 2022 | Medical Malpractice

A doctor must obtain your informed consent prior to conducting a medical procedure or administering treatment. The punishment for not doing so is very significant. In fact, according to Forbes, “Failure to obtain informed consent is unlawful—medical malpractice, specifically—and the doctor can be charged with negligence and battery.”

Informed consent means that you have been made fully aware of the potential risks, side effects and possible outcomes of an operation, procedure or treatment. You can grant your approval for the doctor to go ahead. You also have the right to decline what the doctor wants to do.

Informed consent ensures that your say in what is done and how your medical condition is handled is respected. You have to agree to what is proposed by the doctor before anything can happen.

Each state including Ohio has a law about informed consent.

The specifics of informed consent

The American Medical Association (AMA) has formulated guidelines for what should be discussed with you before you give or withhold informed consent:

  • Reason for and intended goal of what will be done
  • What could happen if you refuse
  • Other options, along with their pluses and downside
  • A diagnosis
  • Potential positive outcomes as well as dangers

Is informed consent always possible?

There are a few instances when informed consent by the patient is not possible. Someone who lacks the mental or psychological capacity to make sound medical choices has to have somebody else, such as a designated health care proxy, act on their behalf.

Patients who are not legally adults must usually have consent from their guardians or parents. If you are unconscious, you cannot consent to emergency measures that must be taken immediately to save your life.

Your doctor did not get your informed consent

If you were treated by a doctor who did not get your informed consent to a procedure or treatment, it was a serious breach of medical ethics and the law. See what you can do to address the situation.