Every physician has an obligation to fully inform their patients about the risks involved in any medical treatment and surgical procedure. In the fields of law and medicine, when a patient has received such information and agrees to a procedure or treatment, this agreement is referred to as “informed consent.” If the information isn’t provided or if the patient refuses to give their informed consent, and the patient suffers any injury during the procedure or treatment, they may have grounds for filing a personal injury lawsuit for medical malpractice. Furthermore, they could be entitled to compensation for damages.
Legal Definition of Informed Consent
According to Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary, the legal definition of “informed consent” is defined as “An agreement to do something or to allow something to happen, made with complete knowledge of all relevant facts, such as the risks involved or any available alternatives.” Every medical treatment and surgical procedure involve an element of potential risk. Doctors are obligated by law to provide patients with certain information regarding an impending procedure or treatment so the patient can make a well-informed decision as to whether or not they want to proceed.
What Information must be disclosed?
A physician is not obligated to tell their patients every possibility that could happen during a procedure or treatment. However, the more important or potential risks must be disclosed. So, what is considered “important” in the eyes of the law? Most of the provinces will use 1 of 2 standards to determine what must be disclosed by the doctor to satisfy the law. For instance:
• Some states require a disclosure when other doctors under similar circumstances would disclose information about the risks involved with a certain procedure or treatment. If a patient sues for malpractice, these states require the testimony of a medical expert pursuant to other doctors disclosing such risks.
• In other states, the legal focus is on the average patient who has the same condition and medical history as the plaintiff’s and if they would’ve opted for another choice had the risks been properly disclosed. Unlike the other states mentioned above, doctors must also tell their patients about alternative procedures or treatments, even if only one has been the recommended one.
Medical malpractice suits are typically complex cases and individuals may not see any type of settlement or compensation for years. Consequently, it is always wise to contact an experienced Personal Injury Lawyer in St. Catharines in these matters. Not only do they have plenty of doctors on board to assist with the medical legalities but are aware of the tort laws. They are able to look into the evidences, consider proof and your injuries or harm before they file a claim on your behalf.