Why Doctors Must Obtain Informed Consent Before Operating

April 28, 2017 | Crandall & Pera Law
Why Doctors Must Obtain Informed Consent Before Operating

Doctors and hospitals have a duty to inform their patients about the benefits and risks of any treatment or medical procedure. Patients rely on health care providers to explain the known health risks. If a doctor or hospital fails to properly inform a patient, they can be sued for medical malpractice. Patients, except in certain emergencies, have the right to decide what risks they are going to take with their body, even if the treatment or procedure is likely to improve their health.

According to the American Medical Association, there are six key informed consent considerations. Patients have a right to know the following:

  1. The diagnosis of their condition or illness – if known

  2. The reason for the proposed treatment, procedure, or surgery

  3. The pros and cons of each treatment or medical procedure

  4. What alternatives are available

  5. The benefits and dangers of the alternatives

  6. What is likely to happen if the patient declines to undergo the treatment or procedure

There are exceptions:

In some cases, doctors can proceed without informed consent or can get consent from people other than the patient:

  • Parents or guardians must be informed and give consent for minor children.

  • If a life-threating emergency exists and you are not mentally or physically able to give consent, medical professionals should generally proceed with treatment.

  • If the patient is not mentally able to give informed consent, a family member or guardian may give consent in the patient’s place.

The best way to advise the patient is by putting the benefits and risks of each possible treatment in writing and getting the patient to sign it. In Ohio, a patient needs to sign a consent form, unless he or she is not mentally or physically capable of doing so. In Kentucky, patients do not have to sign the paper to give consent. A patient can give also give oral consent. Consent may also be implied from circumstances, such as if an emergency arises during a surgery. If the patient does consent to the surgery, then it is implied that the doctor can try to save the patient’s life during the operation if unexpected circumstances arise. The doctor must still proceed according to reasonable medical standards. Consent is not a license to make mistakes.

At Crandall & Pera Law, our Kentucky and Ohio medical malpractice attorneys demand compensation for any medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering the patient endures because they were treated against their wishes. For strong advocacy when physicians act against your interest, please call our Kentucky lawyers at 877-686-8879 or our Ohio team at 877-686-8879. You can also arrange to speak to us through our contact form.