Did you know that a patient needs to give consent to a proposed medical treatment? And it isn’t just a piece of paper they have to sign. Patients have a right to know about all information relating to treatment options; the general dangers and the most severe outcomes alike, such as death, paralysis, or brain damage.
To be valid, a patient’s informed consent must include their understanding of the treatment alternatives and possible outcomes. This empowers patients to make more knowledgeable decisions.
How Informed Consent Can Result in Medical Malpractice Lawsuits
Generally, doctors worry about how the therapeutic side effects may make patients fear getting the help they need. It may even reach a point that doctors fail to disclose all the information necessary to the patient in the hopes that they will accept the treatment. In reality, this is wrong.
Doctors need to clearly address all possible side effects in detail. In the end, it actually helps the doctors steer clear of lawsuits. Therefore, instead of seeing informed consent as an unpleasant burden for the doctor, it should be viewed as a risk-management tool.
This article explores how informed consent in medical malpractice lawsuits is just the tip of the iceberg regarding full disclosure. Because a lack of complete transparency can cause great damage. Read on to see how.
1. Getting Small Details Wrong
Physicians are sometimes too casual about providing all the necessary information for consent. Sometimes they fail to get any of the parties to sign the witness statement. And sometimes they even conduct the conversation without a witness present.
A witness who is a healthcare professional, such as a nurse or physician assistant, must be present. There are no two ways about it. In the event of a negative outcome, the doctor or hospital may be sued and need that witness.
2. Asking a Sedated Patient to Sign Documents
Sometimes patients are under the effects of a sedative such as diazepam when they are asked to fill out consent forms. Many people may claim that this procedure is illegitimate on account of the patient not being of sound mind.
3. Not Warning Patients About a Possible Second Operation
A lumpectomy consent can be given, but not mastectomy permission. The doctor may have approval for fibroid removal but none for a hysterectomy.
Consequently, if you have not obtained a go-ahead for the more serious surgery, the treatment must be stopped. In such a situation, more time should be given to the patient to wake up and sign the consent with fully conscious mental faculties.
4. Assuming Minor Issues Don’t Need Consent
For surgery, informed consent is mandatory. Informed consent may also be necessary for clinics, particularly when the care and treatment to be offered there expands into something more serious.
Patients have a right to take legal action against their physicians if the caregivers were not fully transparent about the potential side effects of common procedures. This includes things like removing a mole, medication for blood pressure, colonoscopies, sutures, flu vaccines, and so on.
5. Forgetting to Document Informed Refusal
A physician must consider several factors when helping their patients determine whether they should undergo a procedure. These include the risks, benefits, and alternatives.
The physician must correctly write this down and ask the patient to sign the paperwork. After this, the patient has a choice to either accept or refuse further treatment. Documenting informed refusal is often more delicate than getting consent because of the severity of the issue or the consequences involved.
The Truth Will Set You Free
Obtaining informed consent helps doctors win medical malpractice lawsuits because they make patients aware of every treatment detail. To help educate physicians and patients on obtaining informed consent, malpractice insurers and hospitals have provided template forms and guides.