In the realm of medical care, trust between patients and healthcare providers forms the foundation of a healthy doctor-patient relationship. This trust extends to the concept of informed consent, which plays a crucial role in ensuring patients have a clear understanding of their medical treatment options, potential risks, and alternatives. Informed consent can wield a powerful impact in the context of your medical care and legal rights. However, what is it and how would it affect a medical malpractice claim?
If you believe that a breach of informed consent has led to harm, do not hesitate to reach out to a medical malpractice attorney at Dominguez Law today. Your story deserves to be heard, and we can help you get the justice and compensation you deserve.
What Is Informed Consent?
Informed consent is a fundamental ethical and legal concept in the field of healthcare that ensures patients are provided with comprehensive and understandable information about their:
- Medical condition
- Proposed treatment or procedure
- Potential risks and benefits
- Available alternatives
The concept recognizes and respects a patient’s autonomy and right to make informed decisions about their own medical care.
Informed consent involves a process of communication between the healthcare provider and the patient, wherein the healthcare provider explains all relevant details about the proposed medical intervention, and the patient, in turn, comprehends and agrees to the treatment based on a clear understanding of the information provided. This process allows patients to weigh the potential risks and benefits of medical intervention and make decisions that align with their personal values, preferences, and overall well-being.
Elements of Informed Consent
For consent to be considered “informed,” several key elements must be present:
- Disclosure of Information: Healthcare providers are obligated to disclose relevant information about the proposed treatment or procedure. This includes the nature of the treatment, potential risks and complications, benefits, alternatives, and the likelihood of success.
- Understanding: The patient must possess the mental capacity to understand the information provided. If a patient is unable to comprehend the details due to factors like age, mental capacity, or language barriers, the healthcare provider may need to adapt their approach to ensure effective communication.
- Voluntariness: Consent must be given voluntarily, without any coercion or pressure from medical staff. Patients should feel comfortable asking questions and expressing concerns without fear of repercussion.
Also, patients must have the legal capacity to provide consent. This means they must be of sound mind and able to make rational decisions. In some cases, a guardian or family member may provide consent on behalf of the patient.
Informed Consent and Medical Malpractice Claims
One avenue of investigation for a medical malpractice claim is whether informed consent was obtained properly. Failure to obtain informed consent may give rise to a medical malpractice claim if the patient can establish:
- Lack of Information: The healthcare provider failed to adequately disclose the risks, benefits, and alternatives associated with the treatment or procedure.
- Materiality: The undisclosed information was material—meaning that a reasonable person, if properly informed, would have made a different decision.
- Causation: The lack of informed consent directly led to the patient’s injury or harm. It must be demonstrated that had the patient been aware of the risks, they would not have undergone the procedure.
When healthcare providers fail to obtain proper informed consent, it can lead to devastating consequences for patients and their families. In the unfortunate event that a breach of this trust occurs, leading to medical malpractice, a seasoned medical malpractice lawyer can help you recover compensation for your damages.
Consult An Experienced Medical Malpractice Attorney in Albuquerque, New Mexico
If you suspect that you or a loved one have suffered due to a breach of informed consent, seeking legal counsel is essential to protect your rights and pursue justice. However, proving a medical malpractice claim based on a lack of informed consent can be complicated, as it requires a thorough understanding of medical standards, legal precedents, and the ability to build a compelling case.
At Dominguez Law, we have experience handling medical malpractice claims in New Mexico, so we have what it takes to be your legal advocate in these complex cases. Our compassionate and aggressive team will work with you every step of the way. Call (505) 850-5854 or fill out our online contact form to schedule your free consultation today. Our team also speaks Spanish.