Understanding Informed Consent

Before any medical procedure, practitioners are required to get consent from the patient or a parent or guardian. The rules and regulations regarding these consent forms are often complex and can involve questions of legally emancipated adults, legal custody of children and other special factors.

Though the specifics of an informed consent form vary from state to state, in essence, when signing these forms, a patient (or guardian) is stating that he or she has a full and comprehensive understanding of the procedure involved and willingly takes the risks involved in such a procedure.

Why Is Informed Consent Important?

In a medical malpractice case, informed consent is important for several reasons. If a doctor fails to get informed consent before a procedure, a patient has a legal claim for damages because he or she was not fully informed, nor did he or she give explicit consent for the procedure. An experienced medical malpractice attorney at Seidman Margulis & Fairman, LLP, in Chicago, Illinois, can help you determine if informed consent is an important part of your case or if it provides a good foundation for a medical malpractice suit.

You have a right to prevent unauthorized contact with your body, and as medical professionals, your doctors, nurses and others involved in your care have a duty to respect your choices. This duty also means that these professionals must provide you with comprehensive information about your procedures, and if they have withheld information from you, you have a right to compensation based on this negligence.

Medical trials, experimental treatments, experiments and any procedure that uses federal funding are required to follow explicit consent procedures. If you were involved in a special medical situation, please get in touch to ensure that your informed consent rights were properly addressed.

Types Of Consent

Consent can be given in numerous ways, and it is often dependent upon the situation.

  • Express consent is given by writing or signing a document or giving oral consent to a procedure before it occurs. Written consent has its own specific guidelines, including the name of the procedure and the name of the doctor providing the care.
  • Implied consent is not necessarily given orally or in a written document, but is understood to be given when a patient shows up for a simple noninvasive procedure or when it is a certain procedure as a part of a larger surgical agreement.
  • Emergency situations require a quick response, and it's not always possible to get informed consent if the patient is unable to communicate. Life-saving measures may be taken with an assumption of implied consent.
  • Compulsory tests do not require consent. These tests often arise in situations of communicable disease or mental health issues.
  • Consent for incapacitated adults or minors must be sought from a guardian or designated person if the patient is not fit to give consent. The age of a child can also make it difficult to determine consent, and this can be a difficult area when parents, guardians or other caregivers disagree with a patient's decision.

Get All The Information You Need

Understanding the exceptions and levels of consent needed for a certain procedure is complex, so it is important that you consult with a medical malpractice lawyer to ensure that your rights are protected. Call our firm at 312-445-9034 or 888-837-3275 toll free to discuss informed consent in your case today.