Patients often question whether they have waived their rights to bring a medical malpractice case against a doctor or hospital when they have signed a consent form. The answer is generally no.
A general consent form is typically given to patients upon being admitted into a hospital or before undergoing an invasive procedure. The consent typically states that the patient had been told and understands the nature of the procedures as well as the possible alternatives, the risks involved, and has had the opportunity to ask questions to the relevant personnel.
As a result, medical consent forms do not give doctor’s free reign to commit medical malpractice. A patient can still file a medical malpractice claim against a physician or hospital if the doctor or hospital was negligent and the negligence caused injury to the patient. If the doctor or hospital deviated from the standard of care used by other similarly situated doctors or hospitals, the patient may have a successful medical malpractice case.
Informed consent is mostly requested of the patient because it is a medical requirement. If a physician failed to inform the patient of the relevant facts surrounding the patient’s treatment, the physician can be sued for medical malpractice. Thus, after informing the patient of the treatment, risks, and alternatives, doctors must receive the patient’s written consent. The patient’s signature on the written consent will indicate the patient’s agreement with the doctor performing the treatment stated.
If the patient did not give his or her informed consent and the patient would have opted out of the treatment had the patient known the risks, the doctor may be liable for medical malpractice.
Doctors do not have to disclose every single risk in every single procedure. Courts usually require doctors to have disclosed the important risks. Most courts consider a risk important if other doctors would have disclosed the risk and if the undisclosed risk would have changed the patient’s decision to have the procedure performed.
If you have experienced medical negligence contact a medical malpractice attorney. An attorney will know the laws and be able to determine whether the medical personnel likely committed medical malpractice.