Many medical malpractice cases result from a lack of informed consent. Informed consent, according to the American Medical Association, is when a patient gives his or her consent for medical treatment.
Informed consent requires that your doctor provides you with information so that you can make a decision about what you want to happen.
Informed consent is your right as a patient. You have the right to know what is happening with your care. You have the right to explanations of procedures. You also have the right to ask questions and get answers to satisfy those questions.
Proper communication is essential in informed consent. If your doctor does not clearly explain procedures, treatment options and other details of your care, then you have no way to make an informed decision and give your consent for the doctor to move forward.
Informed consent requires that your doctor ensures you can understand the medical information he or she is providing to you. The doctor must present information to you in a way that you can understand and based on your preferences. He or she should make sure that you understand your diagnosis, the recommendation for treatment and any risks associated with treatments.
Documentation is also important in the process. It requires that the doctor notes discussions with you and how he or she went about getting informed consent from you.
There is one exception to getting informed consent. If there is an emergency medical situation where you cannot give consent and there is not time to get consent from your representative, the doctor can move forward without it.