As a patient, you have control over what medical treatment you receive. Unless it’s an emergency, a medical decision shouldn’t be made without your authorization. That’s where informed consent comes into play.
What is informed consent?
Before a doctor can provide you with medical treatment, he or she must obtain your informed consent. Here, the doctor should educate you about your treatment options and the risks and benefits of each. Your healthcare provider should also discuss with you the risks of foregoing treatment altogether, including your potential prognosis.
Only once you sign off on an informed consent form will a doctor be authorized to provide you with the approved treatment. Also, keep in mind that you have the right to revoke your consent at any time.
Going beyond the scope of informed consent
The sad reality, though, is that far too often, medical professionals go beyond the scope of informed consent. During a medical procedure, for example, a doctor may see something that he or she thinks is an issue and take it upon him or herself to try to correct it while they already have the patient under anesthesia. In far too many instances, this leads to surgical error or a worsened medical condition. As a result, the patient can be left with extensive pain and suffering, increased medical expenses, additional lost wages, loss of enjoyment of life, and a poor prognosis.
Hold errant medical professional accountable
Medical professionals carry a large responsibility, which is why they are extensively educated and trained. However, when medical errors are made, negligent doctors and nurses need to be held accountable. Oftentimes the only way to do this is to take legal action in the form of a medical malpractice lawsuit. So, if you think that you’ve been harmed by a doctor who failed to obtain informed consent, then you may want to sit down with a strong legal advocate to discuss the realities of your situation.