When we think of medical malpractice, we often think of a doctor making an error during surgery or failing to diagnose a patient until it’s too late. Many people are unaware that a lack of informed consent can also be considered medical malpractice.
Generally speaking, a Georgia physician or other medical professional must get informed consent from a patient before treating the patient. Informed consent is more than just getting the patient to say yes or no to treatment. The doctor must inform the patient of the risks and benefits of the procedure, details of the procedure itself, alternative courses of treatment, and details about the recovery process. As most patients are not doctors themselves, it is important that they explain the procedure or treatment in a way that the patient can understand. In cases involving minors or patients with mental disabilities, the parents or appointed guardian will be able to provide informed consent on the patient‘s behalf.
The concept of informed consent is based on the idea that the physician has a duty to their patients to provide them with any information necessary to help them make informed decisions about their medical care. However, there are some situations where informed consent may not be needed, such as in cases where the patient is unconscious and needs life-saving surgery or in cases where the procedure is just a routine part of receiving medical care in general (e.g. listening to your heartbeat through a stethoscope).
If a doctor fails to provide a patient with enough information to make an informed decision regarding treatment or performs an invasive medical procedure without consent, the doctor may have committed medical malpractice and could be liable for damages. Your attorney can help determine whether you have a strong case for medical malpractice stemming from a lack of informed consent.