The Importance of Informed Patient Consent
Informed consent is a crucial aspect of medical treatment. As a patient, you have the right to a conversation with your doctor regarding any treatments or medications you are beginning. You doctor should talk to you about the procedure, side effects, what you can expect afterwards, how to take medications, or any other information related to your treatment. They should also answer any questions you may have.
Informed consent is important, but why? Informed consent is one step of many that ensure the safety of patients. Opening a dialogue with the health care provider allows patients to ask questions to increase their own understanding, and to potentially prevent errors. Your contributions to this conversation let your doctor make decisions that are better for you.
There are legal reasons for informed consent as well. Procedures performed on a patient without their consent are considered battery by law. Before a procedure, you will typically sign a document agreeing that your doctor has informed you of the risks, expected outcome, process of the procedure, your role in the decision-making, and your preferences. Whether this has all been discussed with you is dependent on your doctor. If you feel they haven’t provided adequate information, you can decline to sign the document until you have spoken to them again.
According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), increased communication between patients and physicians leads to patient empowerment, more realistic expectations, better patient satisfaction, and lower rates of medical malpractice lawsuits. Informed consent can make your experience as a patient better, and can help your doctor understand how they can improve their treatment.
As a patient, you have the right to know all the details of your medical care, and to have your questions answered. If you feel your doctor failed to appropriately inform you of the risks and benefits of a procedure, a skilled medical malpractice attorney may be able to help you determine if you have a case.
Serving our clients since 1978, our attorneys at Shrager, Spivey & Sachs are dedicated to fighting for the victims of negligent doctors. Our Philadelphia medical malpractice lawyers are ready to help today. Contact us for a free consultation!