Informed consent is an idea that has been present in medicine since the fourteenth century. It simply means that before a patient has anything done to their body by anyone else, they should have a thorough understanding of the procedure, the risks and benefits and all possible outcomes.
Today, many physicians have a patient sign a form before a procedure is done, saying that they have had everything described to them, and that they understand and consent to the procedure. But if you sign this form, are you giving up your right to sue for medical malpractice if the procedure goes wrong? Not necessarily.
The consent form should outline everything related the procedure, but it's much more important that your physician has actually discussed everything with you rather than just having you sign a form. More importantly, if the physician did anything additional, delegated any responsibility, or failed to disclose any details or biases, they could be held liable for violating informed consent even though you signed a consent form.
In informed consent cases, the burden of proof shifts to the physician. If the patient claims that a detail was not discussed, or that they were not aware of specific risks of a procedure, it is up to the physician to prove that the patient was informed of these risks. Furthermore, a consent form does not absolve a doctor of all liability if there is negligence and they acted beyond your consent.
At Bouchillon, Crossan & Colburn, L.C., our attorneys have more than 35 years dedicated to giving clients the attention, advice, support and empowerment they need to effectively meet their goals. We are committed to the principle that all persons shall have equal justice under the law. If you or a loved one has been injured and is seeking a qualified personal injury attorney,contact our Huntington, West Virginia office to speak with an attorney about your case, or call 304-523-8451.