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St. Louis Medical Malpractice: What is Informed Consent?

Before you undergo any medical procedure or treatment, you must give informed consent. Informed consent means that you are provided all of the information that you need to make a reasonable decision about whether to undergo a specific medical procedure. Armed with this information, you then make a choice about whether to go ahead with the suggested treatment or not.

Informed consent often means signing a form specifying that you know the risks of the treatment and you want to go forward. In some cases, the person undergoing the treatment will not be able to give consent because he is underaged or incapacitated and unable to make decisions. When this occurs, the guardians of the patient or the person who has authority to act on his behalf will give consent.

Doctors cannot go ahead without consent except in very limited emergency situations where someone’s life is at stake and there is no one to obtain consent from.  If a doctor performs treatment without getting informed consent, this can be a form of medical malpractice and the patient who was treated could file a lawsuit against the healthcare provider. An experienced St. Louis medical malpractice attorney at Carey, Danis & Lowe can help victims to take legal action in cases where a patient was harmed because treatment was performed without consent.

Understanding Informed Consent

Informed consent means more than just asking a patient if it is OK to go ahead with treatment.  Typically, a doctor must provide information about the proposed course of action as well as any alternative treatment options that may be available. The risks and benefits of all of the patient’s different options must be explained and the patient must be given the opportunity to ask questions about the available choices.

Patients should also be given time to think about what they want to do and to speak to family members or advisors if they wish to do so. The more serious and potentially risky the treatment, the more important it is for the doctor to ensure he has carefully discussed the risks and given the patient time to consider his choices.

Once a patient has had time to consider his options, he can then sign the form and/or give permission for the treatment to go forward.  A patient who has given informed consent assumes the risks that are inherent in the treatment and cannot pursue a malpractice claim just because of a negative outcome. However, patients do not assume the risk of receiving substandard care. This means that even if a patient consents to a procedure, he or she can still file a medical malpractice claim if the doctor is negligent in the manner in which the treatment is provided.

An experienced St. Louis medical malpractice lawyer at Carey, Danis & Lowe can represent victims who are harmed by a failure to obtain informed consent or by other medical negligence that occurs. Call or contact us today to speak with a member of our legal team and learn how we can represent you.

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