When you fall ill and visit your doctors, it’s because you trust them to help you regain good health. In addition, under the law, your doctor owes you a duty to exercise reasonable care in treating your condition. So, they must do everything that a prudent doctor will do to protect you from further harm in the circumstances. If a doctor’s careless action caused your injuries, a medical negligence attorney could pursue an injury claim on your behalf.
According to a report, medical errors are one of the leading causes of death in the United States. These errors range from delayed diagnosis to misdiagnosis, medication errors, and surgical errors. However, in some cases, medical negligence does not arise from diagnosis, medications, or surgical procedures.
Sometimes, it stems from ignoring certain legal formalities and best practices in the medical profession. For example, failure to obtain a patient’s consent may not be responsible for their health complications. However, it carries some legal implications. We’ll discuss that more in this article.
What Does Lack of Consent Mean in a Medical Negligence Case?
Based on their training and experience, your doctors often know what’s best for your condition. However, it doesn’t mean that they must force their decisions on you. You still have the right to accept or decline specific treatment options that your doctor suggests for you. To that end, they must obtain your consent before they can carry out particular procedures on you.
Not only must they seek your approval, but your consent or lack of it must also be an informed one. That is, your doctor must tell you of the benefits and risks associated with the procedures you must consent to. Informed consent is compulsory because it impacts the patient’s decision. If they refuse to enlighten you about serious risks inherent in a procedure, they may be liable for medical malpractice.
Note that a medical practitioner must not inform you of every possible risk associated with your treatment. They only have to disclose the material risks like paralysis, organ failure, etc. They must also inform their patients of the procedure’s probability of success, alternatives, diagnosis, purpose, etc.
What Happens When My Doctor Carries Out a Procedure Without My Consent?
You can file a negligence claim when your doctor fails to obtain your consent before carrying out a procedure. If you’re successful, you can get compensation for the damages they caused due to their refusal to seek your consent. However, it is not in every case that a failure to seek consent will automatically lead to a civil action.
First of all, it is not in every case that a doctor must seek your informed consent. In Georgia, informed consent is only necessary for the following circumstances:
- Where a pregnant woman needs Amniocentesis
- Surgical procedures under general, spinal, and major regional anesthesia
- When a patient has to undergo a diagnostic procedure that involves the intravenous or intraductal injection of contrast material.
Also, in Georgia, proving that a doctor failed to obtain informed consent isn’t enough to win a medical malpractice case. In addition to failure to receive approval, you must also prove the following:
- That you suffered an injury due to a surgical or diagnostic procedure that you didn’t consent to.
- The doctor failed to disclose the material risks inherent in your procedure
- That any reasonable and prudent doctor would have chosen alternative procedures to the ones your doctor performed
- That you would have refused to undergo the diagnostic or surgical procedure if you were aware of all relevant facts
Does the Lack of Informed Consent Rule Apply to Emergency Cases?
Lack of informed consent doesn’t apply to emergency cases. So, where a doctor has to do something to save a patient’s life in a hurry, they wouldn’t need consent. That’s because the patient may be dead already before they can give any such approval.
Contact an Experienced Medical Malpractice Lawyer Now!
There are specific medical procedures that your doctors need your consent to undertake. If they fail to do that and you sustain injuries in the process, you can file an action against them. If you’re successful, you’ll get maximum compensation for your hurt.
The success of your medical malpractice claim will depend significantly on how competent your lawyer is. Therefore, to avoid poor legal representation, you must consult with our Atlanta personal injury lawyers at Calvin Smith Law. At our law firm, we’ve got the best experienced Atlanta injury attorneys to handle your negligence claims successfully. So, schedule a free case evaluation with us ASAP.