In general, before a doctor may perform any type of procedure, he or she is legally obligated to obtain a patient's informed consent. Where physicians fail to do so and the patient is harmed, the doctors may find themselves liable for medical malpractice.
Informed consent is more than just signing a document. It is a meant to be a process where the doctor educates the patient about the proposed procedure or treatment, including the risks and benefits.
Specifically, informed consent should include:
- a description of the doctors proposed procedure or treatment
- an explanation of why the doctor is performing this procedure or treatment, including the desired outcome
- the risks involved
- the chances of success
- the existence of alternatives/different options
Patients should also be given time to discuss the procedure or treatment with their doctor, and ask any questions they may have before making a decision.
It is important to note that even if you have given informed consent, a doctor may still be found guilty of medical malpractice if he or she failed to adequately convey the risks involved.
For more information or if you believe that you have suffered an injury as the result of a medical treatment or procedure, please contact the experienced San Francisco personal injury lawyers at Bostwick Peterson LLP for an immediate consultation.