What Is Informed Consent?
When a patient undergoes a medical procedure or begins taking medication, the doctor has a responsibility to the patient to disclose potential risks associated with the treatment. This process is known as “informed consent,” and is an integral component of any doctor-patient relationship.
Consent often comes in the form of a signed document, but a signature does not necessarily prove consent. The doctor has a responsibility to discuss the treatment fully with the patient in order to ensure that the patient has a complete understanding of the risks. If proper consent is not obtained, the doctor may invite the potential for a medical malpractice lawsuit. There are some circumstances where consent is implied by law. If the patient is unconscious and the procedure is an emergency, for example, the patient cannot sue based on lack of informed consent.
What Is Florida’s Informed Consent Law?
In Florida, the law requires that the patient be advised of three things:
- The nature of the procedure
- Any potential substantial risks
- Reasonable alternatives, including the option of doing nothing when applicable
Additionally, in Florida the law says that in cases where a doctor is being sued for failure to obtain informed consent, the jury can still side with the doctor if the jury believes that the victim would likely have consented to the procedure anyway.
Shapiro Law Group – Medical Malpractice Attorneys Serving the Tampa Bay Area
Did You Know?: The top five areas of medical malpractice allegations are diagnosis, surgery, treatment, obstetrics, and medication/anesthesia.