Do Consent Forms Waive a Patient’s Right to Sue for Medical Malpractice?
In anticipation of many medical procedures, medication plans, and courses of treatment, doctors require their patients to sign a consent form of some sort. Usually, these forms describe the intended treatment and detail the potential risks of proceeding.
After signing such a form, some patients may feel that they must accept whatever side effects arise from the agreed-upon treatment. However, this is not entirely true — a patient can still pursue legal action if they developed an illness or injury and believe medical malpractice to be the cause (even if they signed a consent form).
What is Informed Consent?
The term “informed consent,” in a medical setting, defines a written agreement between a doctor and their patient in which the patient consents to treatment which is outlined in complete detail by the doctor. To be a true example of an informed consent agreement, the doctor must describe the patient’s condition, the type of treatment they are recommending and why they believe it is the best option, and all of the effects (both positive and negative) that could occur with or without the recommended treatment.
Informed Consent and Medical Malpractice
A consent form does not waive liability, and does not eliminate the option of pursuing damages for medical malpractice. If a patient signs a consent agreement, proceeds with treatment, and then suffers some kind of ailment as a result, a medical malpractice suit is not out of the question. Our experienced attorneys can evaluate the details of your circumstances and determine if you have a case.
During the investigation phase, it is important to consider:
- Did the doctor perform any treatment that was not agreed upon initially?
- Were all benefits, risks, and the complete treatment plan disclosed in the consent form?
- Is the patient’s current condition a risk that was outlined in the consent agreement?
- Was the patient in a condition to provide fully informed consent at the time the agreement was signed?
Any indication that the doctor acted negligently could be a reason to pursue a medical malpractice case, even if consent was given. Conversely, the failure to ask a person for their consent and educate a patient on the risks of a procedure before performing treatment can almost always be considered a case of medical malpractice.
Contact Brown & Barron, LLC if you have a medical malpractice case. Call us at (410) 698-1717 to speak with our attorneys 24/7, or schedule your free consultation through our online form.