Is Lack of Informed Consent Malpractice?

Doctors usually need to get your informed consent before they can perform surgeries and other medical procedures. If you’re injured in the course of a medical procedure that you didn’t provide informed consent for, you may have the basis for a medical malpractice claim. Note that you can file this claim in order to receive compensation for any injuries that the malpractice caused.

What is Informed Consent?

Consent is your agreement for a medical provider to perform a certain medical procedure. Consent is “informed” once the provider explains to you the particular risks associated with the procedure. The purpose of informed consent is to make sure you make your own decision as to whether to undergo a particular course of treatment.

Doctors typically gain your informed consent by having you sign a consent form that outlines the risks of the procedure that they’ll perform. Doctors usually have you sign this form once they:

  • Explain the possible risks of the procedure, and
  • Ensure that you understand them.

When is Informed Consent Required?

Washington courts usually use one of two standards to determine if a medical provider was required to gain your informed consent for a particular procedure.  These standards are:

  1. Whether a competent provider would have informed the patient of the risk, and
  2. Whether a reasonable person in the patient’s position would have chosen to undergo the procedure if he or she was informed of the risk.

You typically have the basis for a malpractice claims if:

  • A court finds that a provider should’ve gained your informed consent for a procedure, and
  • The provider failed to do so.

What if a Doctor Performs a Different Procedure?

You typically have a malpractice case if a physician performs a different procedure than the one you consented to. This is true provided that you didn’t consent to the procedure performed. But note that you’ll probably not have a case if the doctor performed a different procedure in order to correct a serious injury that is discovered during the procedure that you consented to.

When is Consent Not Required?

The most common case in which a physician doesn’t have to obtain your informed consent is when providing care in an emergency situation. Emergencies simply don’t give doctors the time necessary time to discuss all of the risks of a procedure. They need to act quickly in order to protect your health and they usually have to provide care no matter whether you would have consented to it or not.

Contact Otorowski Morrow & Golden, PLLC

Please know that our firm is here to help if you suffered an injury because of a medical professional’s malpractice. Otorowski Morrow & Golden, PLLC provides free consultations to all our potential clients. The attorneys at our law firm also have over 120 years of combined experience representing injured parties in medical malpractice cases. They never back down to insurers and fight for their clients’ interests every step of the way. Do yourself a favor and contact them now for the quality legal representation you deserve.

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