You were riding your bike when you hit a rough patch on the sidewalk. You were thrown from your bicycle and into the path of an oncoming vehicle. Luckily, the driver was able to stop nearly completely before hitting you. The impact was minor, but you did have broken bones and injuries to address.
After heading to the emergency room, it was determined that you would need surgery to clean out some of your deeper wounds. The surgery would include general anesthesia.
You had never had anesthesia before, but everyone you spoke to shrugged it off and said you’d be fine. Needless to say, you went under without informed consent. When you woke up with complications, had to spend time in the hospital and racked up medical bills, you became very angry that no one had informed you of the risks or alternatives.
In this case, you are a victim who was not informed about the risks of going under general anesthesia.
What is informed consent?
As a patient, you have the right to informed consent. Informed consent generally means that a physician or medical provider needs to tell you all of the possible benefits and risks of a procedure. They also need to inform you of any alternatives that exist.
The idea of informed consent is based on the principle that physicians have a duty to disclose information and to give the patient the right to make a decision about their health care with the necessary information available.
When you are discussing consent, the medical provider should tell you your diagnosis and the purpose of the treatment they are suggesting. They should tell you the risks and benefits of the treatment. They should also tell you the risks and benefits of alternative treatments. On top of this, it is necessary to tell you the risks or benefits of not pursuing treatment. It is only with this information that you can make an educated decision about your health care.
If you are not given this information and do not sign a document stating that you were informed of the risks and benefits of a procedure, you may be able to file a case against the hospital, medical provider or others involved in your care. Informed consent is extremely important for patients. Failing to give patients the information that they need to make informed decisions can be a kind of malpractice and should be addressed.