Is the failure to obtain consent for treatment equal to malpractice?

On Behalf of | Mar 10, 2021 | Medical Malpractice

If you think back to when you last filled in intake paperwork before seeing a medical provider, then you likely remember signing off on various documents giving your permission for them to treat you.

Doctors must go one step further when preparing to perform a treatment or surgery on a patient, though. They must get your informed consent. You may be able to sue a physician who doesn’t do this, especially something unexpected happens due to them failing to do so.

What exactly is informed consent?

Doctors must “consent” you before performing any treatment or surgical procedure on you. They must advise you of what your ailment is along with its severity. Your doctor must let you know about what may happen if you fail to treat your condition, any treatment they may recommend, any alternatives that may exist and the pros and cons of each. Physicians are obligated to discuss this info with you in an understandable way.

Who can give informed consent?

Patients must generally be 18 or older to provide their informed consent. Parents or guardians must provide consent on their minor kids’ or mentally incapacitated loved ones’ behalves. 

Most physicians who end up facing a lawsuit over consent do so because a patient suffers an adverse outcome after they fail to fully understand the gravity of their condition and their treatment options. These outcomes often result from a physician not entirely going over all these concerns so the patient could make ideal treatment choices for themselves. 

What should you do if you suspect medical malpractice?

Patients expect their doctors to treat them with the utmost transparency like they would a relative, including being honest about their medical condition and their treatment options. Some Indianapolis physicians fail to carry out the informed consent process or omit details to influence a patient’s decision-making. An attorney may counsel you on how Indiana law allows you to file a medical malpractice lawsuit in such instances.