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What is informed consent?

On Behalf of | Dec 28, 2020 | Medical Malpractice |

Medical terminology can be complicated and indecipherable for non-medical people. When a New Yorker goes to their doctor, they may not fully understand the complex words and terms included on their after-visit report. Because medical concepts and words can be hard to understand, doctors have a duty to ensure that their patients know what is happening when they receive medical treatment and care.

Informed consent is the idea that a patient is made aware of the risks and benefits of the procedures they receive and that they give their consent to them. This post will discuss what is included in informed consent and several examples of when it may not be necessary to attain. This post does not provide its readers with any legal or medical advice.

What should be included in an informed consent conversation?

Before a patient agrees to a medical treatment or procedure, they should understand what they are getting into with the acquiescence. Some of the important topics that doctors should discuss with their patients before engaging in medical treatments include:

  • The benefits and known risks of the treatment;
  • Other options the patient may use to treat their ailment;
  • Possible outcomes from not undergoing the treatment;
  • The risks associated with other possible treatments.

If after a discussion a patient is willing to undergo the proposed treatment, they must sign and date a document to demonstrate their informed consent.

When does a doctor not need informed consent to take action?

There are a few situations when doctors do not have to secure informed consent from their patients to act. For example, when a doctor performs a routine part of an examination, such as taking a patient’s temperature, they generally do not get informed consent. On the other end of the spectrum, an emergency room doctor may not secure informed consent from a dying patient before undertaking life-saving procedures to resuscitate them.

Informed consent is an important part of keeping patients safe and healthy. When informed consent procedures are breached, patients can suffer. Readers with questions about informed consent litigation can contact their trusted medical malpractice attorneys for guidance.