Informed consent is a medical provider’s ethical and legal obligation to provide information to a patient before providing treatment and the patient’s right to receive this information before consenting to treatment. Specifically, medical providers must disclose the patient’s medical condition, diagnosis, options for treatment including preferred treatment, all risks associated with these treatments as well as risks for not acting at all. The opposite of informed consent is unauthorized treatment.
The information must be provided in simple terms that the patient can understand and must be comprehensive enough that the patient is able to make an “informed” choice about a treatment plan. For example, a patient may decide to hold off on surgery because they are not comfortable with the risks that come with the procedure. However, once disclosure standards have been met and a patient consents to a form of treatment they are assumed to be acting with “informed consent.”
Note that it is common for medical treatment centers to require their patients to sign informed consent forms so that consent is in writing. Children and mentally handicapped people are not able to give informed consent so informed consent documents for treatment/procedures would need to be signed by a parent or guardian or a person with medical power of attorney. Other people who may not be able to provide informed consent include people experiencing high levels of stress/trauma, intoxication, Alzheimer’s disease, severe sleep deprivation or in a coma.
If a patient is given treatment without informed consent for non-emergent treatment it is considered “unauthorized treatment.” Medical providers who perform unauthorized treatment that causes harm could become the defendant in a medical malpractice case.
The patient must show that the physician performed the treatment without informed consent and that had they known about the risks associated with the treatment or procedure they would not have consented to the treatment and therefore avoided injury.
If you believe that you were harmed as a result of receiving unauthorized treatment, seek the advice of a medical malpractice lawyer as soon as you are able. The attorney can discuss your legal rights and whether you have a case. From there you will have the information you need to decide if you should pursue a claim.
The Seattle personal injury attorneys at Morrow Kidman Tinker Macey-Cushman, PLLC have years of experience representing families harmed by medical malpractice and other types of negligence. We seek justice for patients who have been harmed by preventable accidents and medical errors including birth injuries, hospital-acquired infections, diagnostic errors, prescription drug injuries and wrongful death in Seattle and across Washington State. There are no fees or expenses to file a personal injury case as we only receive payment if we recover damages on your behalf. Do not delay; personal injury claims come with a Statute of Limitations, which means they must be filed within a certain time frame of the injury.
Call us now at 206-842-1000 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation with one of our compassionate, experienced attorneys.