When you hear “medical malpractice,” it’s likely that you immediately think of doctors prescribing the wrong medication or performing surgery on the wrong patient. However, medical malpractice does not always involve a horrible accident or procedure gone wrong. In fact, a doctor or nurse may be guilty of malpractice if they perform a treatment without first obtaining the patient’s permission.
Express and Implied Consent
In order to perform a medical procedure, a doctor must obtain either express or implied consent. Express consent (often referred to as “informed consent”) is when a patient explicitly agrees to undergo a specific treatment. This is often done in writing and demonstrates that the patient understands the possible risks of the particular treatment and complications that may arise. On the other hand, implied consent is when a patient is understood by a physician to have provided their unspoken agreement to receive a specific treatment. Implied consent may take the form of showing up to a doctor’s office, reporting to the hospital for surgery at an agreed-upon time, fasting in advance, following pre-treatment instructions, etc.
What Happens When Doctors Violate Patient Consent
Trouble may arise when patients receive treatments beyond those they have agreed to or when a doctor performs the agreed-upon treatment on the wrong area of the body. Doctors may also violate patient consent when they experience complications related to treatments they did not agree to on their patient consent form, when complications turn out to be much more likely than they were led to believe, or when a doctor’s verbal description of the possible complications is different than the explanation contained in the patient’s signed consent form.
If you physician failed to properly identify or describe your medical treatment and the related complications (or if they performed procedures to which you did not agree), you could suffer serious personal, physical, and financial damage as a result. In such cases, you may be able to file a medical malpractice claim and hold your doctor responsible for the effects of their unethical behavior.
Has Your Doctor Violated Your Right to Consent? Call (660) 722-4115 for Legal Counsel.
At Kempton & Russell, we represent people whose doctors and other medical care providers have performed treatments without first obtaining patient permission. Doctors who do not attain patient consent before administering treatment violate one of the most basic principles of practicing medicine, and we believe they should be held accountable. If you have suffered physical harm, financial loss, personal suffering, or any other sort of damage because your doctor violated your right to consent, we may be able to help you take legal action and pursue appropriate financial compensation.