Informed consent is when you make a decision after being provided with all of the relevant and known information pertaining to the topic at hand. If someone purposely conceals or withholds such information, or if they simply forget to mention something critical, you cannot give informed consent. Health care providers have to provide a consent form before beginning certain medical treatments. They also have to use a standard of care when treating patients.
If you believe you were not provided all of the necessary information before agreeing to or refusing a medical procedure, you have rights. Hiring a Maryland medical malpractice lawyer can help you to better understand your situation and what compensation you deserve.
Why Informed Consent Is Important
Informed consent is crucial in many situations, including when you are sick or injured and need to decide what treatment is right for you. If you do not have all of the pertinent information, you could end up getting the wrong care by:
- Refusing a treatment that you actually might have wanted and benefited from
- Agreeing to a treatment that you would have refused if you had been made aware of the dangers
- Not knowing the right questions to ask of your provider before beginning treatment
- Being unprepared for the consequences of the treatment you undergo
When reviewing your treatment options, having all the information is essential to the decision-making process. This can enable you to avoid potential risks of medical complications and maximize the potential benefits of your medical care.
What Goes Into Informed Consent?
According to Cleveland Clinic, there are four essential elements to ensuring a patient can give informed consent:
- First, the patient must be able to understand the situation well enough to make a sound decision. If the provider judges that the patient cannot do this, someone else must be designated to make decisions on the patient’s behalf.
- Second, the provider must give the patient enough information for them to make an informed decision. This typically includes information about the patient’s diagnosis, the risks and benefits of treatment, alternative treatments, and the consequences of not getting treatment.
- Third, the provider must ensure the patient has understood all of the information they were given. Your provider might verbally ask for confirmation, as well as have you sign a document verifying that you understand the situation.
- Finally, the patient must formally agree to the treatment plan as outlined by the provider.
Head Injuries and Informed Consent
If you suffer from a mental illness or brain injury, your ability to make decisions may be compromised, even if you do have access to all relevant information. Your condition might affect your ability to:
- Retain information
- Control emotional reactions
- Separate fact from fiction
In a situation like this, it is more critical than ever that you surround yourself with people you can trust. This may include close relatives and friends who have your best interests at heart. If you have already suffered an injury due to a lack of information, you can hire a medical malpractice attorney to fight for you.
For legal consultation, call (410)777-8960
Protecting Your Right to Informed Consent
If you received injurious medical care because you were not provided the tools to give informed consent, one of the first things you should do is contact a personal injury attorney.
Your legal representative will help you in several ways, including:
Informing You of Everything You Need to Know
Part of a lawyer’s job is to keep their clients informed. You should withhold nothing when speaking to your attorney, and in return, they can:
- Work with you to devise and agree on a strategy for pursuing the compensation you need
- Tell you about any laws that might impact your case, such as the deadline by which you must file a case (in Maryland, for example, this limit may be five years, per Md. Cts. & Jud. Proc. Code § 5-109)
- Contact you whenever there is a new development that may change your perception of the case
- Help you understand what informed consent is and how the lack of it affected your treatment
- Determine how much your case is worth based on how much the malpractice has cost you
Speaking With Others On Your Behalf
The insurance company or the liable party’s attorney may try to influence you in ways that minimize what they have to pay you. Your personal injury lawyer can protect you by:
- Communicating with them via phone, email, fax, and teleconference in your place
- Helping you decide when and if it is necessary to agree to an interview with someone else
- Preparing you for interviews by telling you what questions you will likely be asked and how you can answer without jeopardizing your settlement
- Telling you the contents of your lawyer’s conversations with the other side, so that you know where everyone stands and what it means for you
- Warning you against certain actions, such as accepting a settlement before your lawyer has a chance to thoroughly investigate your case
Helping You Make Informed Decisions
Even when you have all of the information you need, you may still have trouble making and following through on a final decision. The legal system is very complex, and just hearing the facts of the matter may not be enough to allow you to make a truly informed choic.
If and when you want extra assistance, reach out to your lawyer. They can:
- Go over the potential consequences, both good and bad, of every choice available to you
- Explain why certain options are not available in your case
- Tell you which option they think may be best for you
- Help you implement that choice by taking action on your behalf or explaining how you can take action
Informed Consent and Your Malpractice Settlement
When you have the tools you need to make decisions that are right for you, you have a much better chance of getting the kind of outcome you deserve. This is just as true of your legal case as it is for your medical care. A legal action could get you:
- Compensation for financial losses, such as medical bills and lost wages
- Compensation for bodily injuries, such as pain and suffering, disability, and scarring
- Holding the at-fault party accountable for the injuries they could have prevented by giving you the right information at the right time
- The peace of mind of knowing that you have received justice and that you no longer have to worry about how you will pay your family’s bills
We Protect Your Right to Informed Consent
Adam M. Smallow helps people like you recover compensation after malpractice stemming from a lack of informed consent. The sooner you call us, the sooner we can tell you more about what informed consent is and how we can protect you throughout your case. The first case evaluation is always free.