Understanding Informed Consent

There are many reasons medical malpractice may occur. One of the most common is failure to adequately monitor a patient in order to respond to needs. Our Illinois law firm handles a broad spectrum of medical malpractice cases, including birth injury. emergency room error, surgical errors, nursing home neglect, and medication errors.

In many situations where medical care or treatment is provided to an individual, medical professionals are required to obtain the patient's "informed consent." Although the specific definition of informed consent may vary from state to state, it means essentially that the patient has made a knowing decision about a medical treatment or procedure after a doctor or other health care professional discloses all the information a reasonably prudent medical provider would give to a patient regarding the risks involved in the proposed treatment or procedure. If the health care provider fails to obtain informed consent, the patient may have a legal claim for damages. An experienced medical malpractice attorney at Patel Law, PC in can help you determine whether you have a claim and represent your interests throughout the legal process.

The concept of informed consent is based on the principle that a patient has the right to prevent unauthorized contact with his or her person and, thus, a physician has a duty to disclose information to the patient so that he or she can make a reasoned decision regarding treatment, based on an understanding of the treatment to be provided. In certain situations, informed consent is an absolute necessity. For example, in medical trials or experiments that receive federal funding, informed consent must be obtained from any human participant or subject.

How to Ensure Valid Consent

There are a number of things that the health care provider can do to ensure that the patient's consent is valid:

  • The actual person who will be performing the procedure should obtain the consent and that provider should have a full understanding of the patient's medical history
  • The doctor should ensure that the patient is legally and mentally capable of giving consent
  • The doctor or hospital should not coerce the patient into giving consent
  • The patient must consent to a specific procedure, and generally, the health care provider cannot go further than the scope of that procedure