The Cassidy Law Firm Blog

Monday, May 11, 2020

Lack of Informed Consent and Medical Malpractice Claims

Medical malpractice claims involve a wide range of negligent acts perpetrated by doctors and other health care professionals. In some cases, the act of medical negligence may occur even prior to the patient receiving treatment. For instance, doctors have a duty to inform patients about the risks associated with any proposed medical treatment. Failure to do so prior to a procedure is referred to as a “lack of informed consent.”

Lack of Informed Consent and Medical Malpractice Claims

A doctor must inform a patient regarding the nature of a course of treatment or a procedure in order for the patient to be able to make an informed decision regarding whether or not to undergo the treatment or procedure. Informing the patient about the nature of a treatment or procedure includes things like outlining the particular risks associated with the proposed treatment plan. A patient who has received adequate information in order to be able to provide informed consent should understand things like:

  • What medical condition is being treated;
  • The intended purpose of the proposed course of treatment;
  • The risks associated with the proposed treatment;
  • The chance of the treatment being successful;
  • The estimated time necessary to recover;
  • The treating doctor’s name and qualifications;
  • The estimated cost of the treatment; and
  • What cost of the treatment would be covered by insurance.

Providing this information to the patient and having them agree to the procedure despite the known risks is referred to as obtaining the “informed consent” of the patient. However, it is important to note that the patient must have capacity in order to provide informed consent. Capacity means that the patient has the ability to both understand the information provided as well as the ability to make decisions regarding his or her health. Additionally, the consent must be provided voluntarily. The patient cannot be coerced into providing consent. Coercion would invalidate the informed consent.

In order to have lack of informed consent act as the basis for a medical malpractice claim, the doctor must have failed to adequately inform the patient regarding the nature and risks of the proposed treatment plan. Additionally, the doctor’s failure to uphold his or her duty to fully inform the patient must have resulted in the patient sustaining some type of harm. Medical malpractice lawsuits are intended to compensate victims for the harm they have suffered due to medical negligence. Without harm resulting from the lack of informed consent, there would be no damages to pursue in a medical malpractice claim or lawsuit.

New Jersey Medical Malpractice Attorneys

If your doctor failed to provide you with the information needed for you to provide informed consent to a medical procedure, you may be entitled to compensation. The knowledgeable medical malpractice attorneys at Cassidy Law Firm will evaluate your case and let you know about your legal options. We are here to help you get the compensation you deserve for the harm you have suffered due to medical negligence. Contact us today.

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