Informed Consent: Are You Sure it Means What you Think it Does?

informed consent

We come across many people in our daily life who have serious, often life-changing, injuries from medical mistakes. And the saddest thing is most of these people don’t even know the reason for their suffering. While medical problems can sometimes be difficult, it is the responsibility of the concerned doctor to explain to them such that everyone can understand.

How Informed Consent Works

Informed consent is basically the process by which a doctor explains appropriate information about the treatment to a competent patient. This allows the latter to make a voluntary decision to either accept or reject treatment. The primary concern is that the patients should be given all the necessary information so that they can direct the treatment they have to undergo.

When a patient agrees to a medical process, it should fulfill the conditions of informed consent. It is imperative that they have a clear understanding of the benefits, risks, and alternatives of the medical procedure being discussed.

Whose Responsibility is it?

Your physician is legally responsible to obtain informed consent. Though he/she can delegate that responsibility to some other health professional, the responsibility still rests with him/her in case the delegated authority fails to inform the patient properly.

But you should know about the exceptions as well. Let’s say the patient needs immediate treatment or serious harm or even death can be caused if treatment is delayed, then the healthcare providers can act according to their own best judgment. Another exception is in the case of a minor whose immediate family is not available or cannot be contacted at the time. In situations like these, doctors can treat patients without obtaining informed consent to prevent additional injury or serious harm.

If you’re wondering why failure to obtain informed consent is a legal matter, here is the answer. In New York, the Informed Consent provisions are classified in Public Health Law that makes it necessary to obtain informed consent before performing invasive procedures. After all, the patient’s health, or even life, is at stake.

The issues related to informed consent are complex as the concerned law is extensive in nature. If you think you were not fully informed of the risks or alternatives of a medical procedure, get in touch with the experienced members of The Fitzgerald Law Firm today for advice.