Informed consent refers to the agreement established that patients have been fully informed by their doctor about a medical procedure’s potential risks.
Patients are often asked to sign a consent form before undergoing a medical procedure. However, these forms alone do not necessarily prove that a person gave informed consent. Doctors have a duty to provide their patients with essential information that will help them make informed choices about their medical care. If a patient is harmed during a procedure for which he or she did not give informed consent, that patient may be able to file a medical malpractice lawsuit.
In a medical malpractice case, a medical expert may determine whether other competent doctors would have informed the patient of the risk related to the injury. In other cases, courts may consider whether a typical patient – with the same medical history and conditions as the plaintiff – would have made a different decision about the treatment having known about the risk.
Exceptions to the informed consent rule include scenarios involving emergencies, during which there may be little time to discuss with patients the risks involved in an emergency treatment or procedure.
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