These days, patients in Pennsylvania expect their doctors to provide them with information regarding surgical procedures, medical procedures, or courses of treatment before performing them. Some procedures are risky, and many agree that patients should be apprised of the risks before consenting to a procedure. This blog post will discuss the harm that can arise from a lack of informed consent. It will also discuss the medical professional negligence that may exist when harm does arise.
A physician or other medical provider must tell their patient of all the potential benefits, risks, and alternatives involved in any surgical procedure, medical procedure, or other course of treatment, Further, the physician or other medical provider must obtain the patient's written consent to proceed. Certain activities, such as listening to a patient's heartbeat through a stethoscope, are sometimes not considered to be treatment requiring informed consent.
What information must be disclosed in an informed consent? The required information may include the patient's diagnosis if it is known, the benefits and the risks of a proposed treatment or procedure, nature and purpose of a proposed treatment or procedure, the alternatives to the proposed treatment or procedure, and the risks and benefits of not receiving or undergoing any treatment or procedure.
If the informed consent of the patient is not received, and the patient suffers personal injury from a risk that the patient should have been warned about, the medical provider may be liable to the patient for lack of informed consent.
Source: FindLaw, "Understanding Informed Consent - A Primer," accessed on Nov. 25, 2017