What is Informed Consent?

Informed Consent Relating to Medical Malpractice

Every patient has the right to know the risks and possible dangers associated with their course of treatment. Informed consent allows the patient to fully understand and accept any complications or consequences that may result from their treatment path. If a doctor or health care provider does not talk with the patient about these risks, they may have failed to obtain informed consent, which could be a form of medical malpractice.
If you suspect that your doctor or health care provider failed to obtain informed consent, the experienced Cleveland medical malpractice attorneys at Tittle & Perlmuter can help. We can sit down and review your options together during a free consultation.

What is Informed Consent?

According to MedicineNet, informed consent is defined as, “The process by which a patient learns about and understands the purpose, benefits, and potential risks of a medical or surgical intervention, including clinical trials, and then agrees to receive the treatment or participate in the trial. Informed consent generally requires the patient or responsible party to sign a statement confirming that they understand the risks and benefits of the procedure or treatment.”
In order for a patient to give informed consent, the doctor or health care provider must explain:

  • The diagnosis
  • The proposed course of medical treatment and the reason behind it
  • The benefits of the proposed treatment
  • The risks of the proposed treatment
  • The benefits and/or risks of not undergoing the recommended treatment
  • Any alternative treatment options along with their benefits and risks

Is Informed Consent Always Required?

Although informed consent is important in many cases, it’s not always required. Some scenarios in which informed consent is not needed include:

  • Routine Medical Treatment
  • Emergency Situations
  • Minors or Mentally Disabled
  • Suspected Harm

Routine Medical Treatment 
When receiving routine medical treatment such as checking blood pressure, using a stethoscope to detect a heartbeat, or checking other simple vital signs, informed consent is usually unnecessary. These procedures are non-invasive and are considered standard treatments.
Emergency Situations
In some emergency situations, informed consent is not always an option. A variety of factors including time, unconsciousness, and life-threatening injuries could prevent the doctor or health care professional from obtaining informed consent in order to prevent further damage.
Minors or Mentally Disabled
Some patients, including minors and mentally disabled individuals, cannot give consent on their own. In many cases, the parent or guardian acts as the patient giving consent. Although every situation is different, guardians of minors and mentally disabled should be contacted first when requiring informed consent.
Suspected Harm
If the doctor or health care professional believes the patient will become overly distressed or harmed by having a conversation about treatment, the medical professional may be legally able to provide treatment without consent.

How Can I Prove Medical Malpractice?

In order to prove that a doctor or health care provider failed to obtain informed consent, the following elements of negligence must be proven:

  • The health care provider had a duty to get informed consent before performing a medical procedure
  • The health care provider failed to obtain informed consent
  • The course of medical treatment issued would not have been gained consent if the risks and dangers were presented beforehand
  • An injury was suffered due to the course of medical treatment that did not receive consent

Contact Tittle & Perlmuter Today

If you believe yourself or your loved one has fallen victim to medical malpractice and that the health care provider failed to obtain consent, the experienced Cleveland Medical Malpractice Attorneys at Tittle & Perlmuter can help.
We can sit down with you at your free consultation to go over your case and any legal courses of action we believe we can take.
If you have any further questions about informed consent or medical malpractice, please fill out our contact form or give us a call at 216-285-9991 to speak to one of our attorneys.

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