Informed Consent in Medicine to Prevent Lawsuits

In order to safeguard against misunderstandings and medical malpractice lawsuits, physicians and surgeons must have discussions and secure agreements about treatment with people that they are interested in receiving treatment.  These discussions and agreements are part of the informed consent process that every physician and surgeon must provide to a patient when undergoing care. Physicians and surgeons use several tools to enforce informed consent communication. These tools include visual props to help people understand information about the proposed treatment, risks associated with the treatment, skill required to compensate for complications, and alternatives to the procedure. These tools may also include: video tapes, DVD’s and informational websites.

Legal Consent

Legal consent to treatment is evident in the document entitled Informed Consent that you sign at your physician’s office before undergoing treatment. Physicians also document in your chart that you understand and have agreed to the procedure. In the case of medication distribution, you will be advised to read the product label which outlines risks associated with the drug. You will also have a discussion with your pharmacist about the medication when it is dispensed to you.

Risks, though rare, are associated with all medical procedures and drugs. For example, the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery reported on the satisfaction rating of 16.3 million worldwide LASIK patients to find that over a ten year period, over 95% of patients are satisfied. But, those who were not satisfied may have suffered from a life changing complication. Since complications resulting after quality care do not qualify people for lawsuits, it is important to be informed.

The Agreement

When going for medical treatments, it’s important to find out information, such as:

  1. What is wrong?
  2. What is the goal in treatment?
  3. What won’t treatment do?
  4. What are the risks?
  5. What are the coping skills required to manage complications?
  6. What will recovery be like?
  7. What are the alternatives to treatment?

Before you have treatment, you may receive sketches, checklists, and consent forms. It is important to keep these items in case you need them. The informed consent form is a requirement for treatment.

Medical malpractice comes in when the physician has been negligent and has performed sub standard care. The injuries in medical malpractice must be serious and life changing in order to qualify for a lawsuit.

Burton Padove, Indiana and Illinois lawyer, is available to help those who are injured because of medical malpractice. He can be reached at (877) 446 5294.

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