One of the more common forms of medical malpractice lawsuits arise because the patient did not give informed consent. In this situation, the word "informed" means that the patient knows everything about the procedure that he or she is undergoing, including the risks of the procedure, the probability that it will be successful, the type of illness that the procedure is seeking to correct, how much the treatment costs, and how long the recovery time will be. The patient needs to know all of this information in order to make a decision about whether or not to undergo the treatment. If the patient gives informed consent, then he or she has agreed to have the procedure after first obtaining all of this information.
If the doctor does not give the patient enough information, then he or she will not be able to make a smart decision and might be harmed as a result. However, there are a few exceptions to the requirement of informed consent.
1. It's an Emergency
If you suffer a heart attack or a stroke and need immediate medical attention in order to make sure that you survive, your doctor does not necessarily have to inform you about the procedure or all of this risks involved and does not need your consent to save you. Most people have not signed any papers that say that they don't want to be resuscitated or have other lifesaving measures given in order to survive, meaning that the doctor can save you regardless of whether or not you are able to consent. This is to allow doctors to act quickly in an emergency and minimize any damage that you suffer.
If you have signed a do not resuscitate form (DNR), then your doctor and anyone regularly treating you for your illness needs to be informed of this.
2. If the Procedure Is Not Specifically Related to a Treatment
Your doctor does not need to tell you about the risks and then ask your permission to take your blood pressure, listen to your heart, or test your reflexes. This is because these procedures are very unlikely to cause you harm and any requirement for informed consent would cause a routine checkup to take a long time. These small procedures need to not be related to a treatment plan but rather be in the realm of preventative or diagnostic medication.
If you believe you are suffering from a case of medical malpractice, you can go to websites to contact a medical malpractice attorney and confirm that your case required informed consent.