Every course of medical treatment carries some kind of risk, but patients often find themselves surprised by unexpected consequences when they aren't adequately warned about those potential risks.
Doctors are supposed to provide patients with all the information they need to make an informed decision about their own healthcare. That way, the patient fully understands the dangers associated with a given course of action. This is called "informed consent."
Unfortunately, too many doctors treat the process in a cavalier manner — and patients suffer as a result. Here are some examples of when informed consent isn't really "informed" at all:
1. "We need you to sign this consent for treatment so we can get started."
This is often what patients hear right before they're set to undergo some kind of invasive procedure in a clinical setting, whether it's a nerve block in their spine at a pain clinic or surgery of some kind at a hospital.
While the doctor may have gone over why he or she recommended the procedure with you in the office a while before, that is not the same as warning you about all the risks associated with the actual procedure itself. You should be given adequate time to understand and consider the potential complications of the treatment, especially if there is anesthesia involved.
If you were rushed through the process just so the doctor or hospital could get your signature on the consent for treatment form, that's not really informed consent and you may be completely justified in bringing a lawsuit over an adverse result.
2. "I decided it was the best course of action once I got in there."
This is what patients often hear when they wake up from what was supposed to be one surgery and find out that a doctor took a more drastic action than expected. Often, the consequences of that action are completely a surprise to the patient, because he or she was never warned it was even a possibility.
For example, imagine that you are a woman who agreed to surgery to remove uterine fibroids. Your doctor underestimated the severity of the fibroids you have and determined that a hysterectomy was the best course of action in your case. However, you were never given any advance notice that a hysterectomy was even potentially possible, and you certainly weren't given time to think about it or seek a second opinion. Your informed consent for one procedure does not equal informed consent for another!
A medical malpractice claim can be among the most devastating types of personal injuries that attorneys see, usually because they're so serious. It only takes one major medical event to permanently alter the trajectory of a victim's life. If you or your loved one suffered a complication from a medical treatment without being adequately warned about the potential risks you faced, talk to a personal injury lawyer, like Law Offices Of Timothy L Lapointe PC, about your options today.
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