Failure to Obtain Informed Consent
Informed Consent Lawyers in Jackson, MS
Before treating a patient or carrying out a procedure, medical providers must obtain informed consent. This involves clearly explaining the potential risks and benefits of treatment to the patient and acknowledging that they understand all possible outcomes. Failure to obtain informed consent, orally or in writing, could constitute medical malpractice.
At ‘Maggio | Thompson, LLP, we represent victims of medical malpractice and negligence throughout Mississippi. Our Jackson informed consent attorneys understand the law and know how to build a persuasive, evidence-based case on your behalf. We are dedicated to holding negligent medical professionals accountable and strive to obtain justice for each and every one of our clients.
If you were injured or suffered health complications and believe your doctor failed to inform you of all possible risks, reach out to us today at (601) 265-6869 for a free consultation.
What Is Informed Consent?
In general terms, informed consent refers to a medical provider’s responsibility to explain a treatment, including the risks and benefits, to a patient prior to carrying it out. In Mississippi, doctors and other healthcare professionals must uphold an accepted standard of care when obtaining informed consent. This means providing patients with accurate information, explaining procedures prior to performing them, and respecting the patient’s right to autonomy, including the right to accept or rejected proposed treatments.
There are several different types of informed consent. These include:
- Express Consent: This is the expressed consent provided by the patient
- Surrogate Consent: This is consent provided on behalf of the patient by an authorized representative designated to make health decisions for the patient
- Implied Consent: This is when the patient’s consent is implied (often verbally)
- Tacit Consent: This is when the patient’s consent is implied but never expressly given
- Advanced Consent: This is when a patient provides consent in advance of a procedure, treatment, or even in advance of an illness or condition (such as incapacitation)
When medical providers fail to obtain informed consent, patients are unable to make decisions about their own health. They may not fully understand the risks associated with a procedure and may agree to treatment that they would not otherwise wish to receive if they were fully aware of all possible side effects and negative outcomes. This can lead to significant injuries, serious complications, and significant emotional and/or mental distress. When this occurs, affected patients may have the right to file medical malpractice claims or lawsuits against the liable party/parties.
How Must Informed Consent Be Obtained?
Informed consent may typically be obtained verbally or in writing; it is most often obtained in the form of a written and signed statement so as to avoid liability. However, even if signed a document, you may still have a claim if your doctor or medical provider failed to adequately describe the procedure or treatment and ensure you understood all possible and/or likely outcomes.
In most cases, obtaining informed consent involves the medical provider discussing/explaining the following:
- The patient’s diagnosis (if known)
- The type of proposed treatment
- The purpose of the proposed treatment
- Benefits and risks associated with the proposed treatment
- Benefits and risks associated with not receiving the proposed treatment or any treatment
- Alternatives to the proposed treatment (regardless of cost/health insurance coverage)
Most often, informed consent is obtained in writing. The patient (or their authorized representative) must consent to the treatment by signing and dating the appropriate forms. Copies of these documents should then be given to the patient and/or their authorized representative, with another copy kept in the patient’s official medical record.
Do Medical Providers Always Need to Obtain Informed Consent in Mississippi?
In Mississippi, informed consent is not always required. In many routine procedures, such as listening to a patient’s heartbeat using a stethoscope, medical providers are not required to obtain written informed consent. However, they may be required to explain what they are doing to the patient and why, depending on the procedure performed.
Another common example of when medical providers do not always need to obtain informed consent is in cases involving emergency, life-saving procedures. If a patient is unconscious, a medical provider may perform a life-saving procedure or other absolutely necessary treatment, even though the patient cannot provide informed consent.
However, note that, in nearly all other situations, doctors and other medical providers must obtain informed consent prior to carrying out treatments and procedures, including surgeries, anesthesia administration, radiation, diagnostic tests, and more.
What to Do If Your Doctor Did Not Obtain Informed Consent
If your doctor or another medical provider failed to obtain informed consent, and you were injured or suffered damages as a result, you may have grounds for a medical malpractice case. Note that you only have a case if you were injured/suffered damages. Even if your doctor did not obtain informed consent, but you were not injured, you do not have a case.
If you believe that your injuries, condition, or damages were caused by a medical provider or procedure for which you did not give informed consent, reach out to an attorney right away. These are highly complex cases, and it is absolutely critical that you work with an experienced medical malpractice team.
At ‘Maggio | Thompson, LLP, we have years of experience helping victims of all types of medical negligence, including cases involving lack of informed consent. Our medical malpractice attorneys understand the unique challenges present in these types of cases, and they know how to build powerful claims to defend their clients’ rights. To date, we have recovered millions of dollars in compensation for the injured and the wronged, and we are prepared to fight for you.
Request a Free Consultation Today
We encourage you to reach out to our firm to set up a no-cost, no-obligation case evaluation with one of our attorneys right away. In Mississippi, you only have two years to file a medical malpractice lawsuit (in most cases). Typically, the clock begins running on the date you were injured or the date you discovered your injury/reasonably could have discovered your injury. Time is short, so do not delay!
Our team offers compassionate, client-focused legal services and aggressive, results-driven representation. We provide all our legal services on a contingency fee basis, meaning you do not owe any legal fees unless we secure a settlement or verdict for you.