Whether that be a verbal, “yes, I agree” or a nod of the head, a doctor should obtain all forms of consent before moving forward with treatment or surgery. It is a doctor’s responsibility to provide sufficient information regarding a possible medical procedure or treatment. If a patient is not adequately informed or given incorrect information about a proposed procedure, and injury occurs during treatment, they could have a medical malpractice case.
Basically, consent is when a doctor explains a medical procedure or treatment, and a patient agrees to have it done. As mentioned, patient consent can be verbal, or an act of consent, like nodding the head; but many states have medical consent laws that require written compliance on record. On the other hand, a written consent is not sufficient enough for most doctors, and an informed consent is sought after as well by medical authorities.
Informed consent is when the doctor or medical authorities fully explain and define the medical treatment or procedure in question. This includes the name and credentials of the doctor performing or supervising the treatment, as well as, the patient’s medical condition, the intent or purpose of the treatment, the potential risks and side effects of the treatment, potential alternatives for treatment, the likelihood of the treatment being successful, the expected recovery time, the associated costs of treatment, and how much of the cost is covered by insurance.
At this time, it is the patient’s right and responsibility to ask all the pertinent questions and concerns they have regarding the medical treatment or procedure. Patients also reserve the right to think things over and discuss their concerns with friends and family.
Once a patient has consented to a certain medical surgery or treatment plan, the doctor cannot go outside that consent unless it is a matter of health during an operation or procedure. In the case that a doctor goes beyond what was originally consented, or performs an additional treatment that was not agreed to, a patient can sue under their state’s medical malpractice statutes.