What Harm Can Be Caused by a Lack of Informed Consent?

When we seek guidance from a doctor, we expect them to help us make the best health choices possible. However, we also expect to be informed about the care we receive. When this expectation is not met, it can lead to distrust and even significant harm to our health.

Unfortunately, many people are injured every year by medical negligence, and some of those people may not have consented to the treatment they received. This harm could have been avoidable in other circumstances. A lack of informed consent can have significant, lasting impacts on the injury victim. If a lack of consent contributed to your injury, speak to a Portland medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible.

What Is Informed Consent?

Informed consent in a medical context is the process of providing specific information to a patient about the treatment they will receive. Specifically, this includes potential risks and any other vital information the patient needs. If the information about the treatment could potentially change the patient’s mind, that information should be discussed under informed consent.

Ensuring patients receive the information needed to make an informed decision can be difficult. In a clinical trial published in the National Library of Medicine, the percentage of participants who understood the parts of informed consent in a clinical trial ranged from approximately 52 to 76%. In a real-world setting, that number could easily be less.

There are also exceptions to the informed consent rule. For example, if you are in an emergency situation, your doctor may be unable to or have time to ask about the treatment you could receive. In these situations, a doctor may need to make split-second decisions.

Harm Caused by a Lack of Informed Consent Can Have Significant Consequences

When a patient is uninformed about the damage the treatment they are offered can do, it can lead to lasting and significant harm. For example, you may have received surgery that comes with high risks. If your doctor failed to inform you of these risks, you may have agreed to a surgery you might have otherwise avoided.

Lack Of Informed Consent May Be Grounds for a Lawsuit

When a lack of informed consent causes harm like this, you may have grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit. Doctors are expected to uphold certain standards of care. If they fail to do so, they may be held responsible for what happens to their patients, including the many current and future damages they have suffered.

Keep in mind, however, that generally, there must have been harm done to the patient. If the doctor failed to seek informed consent, but the patient was uninjured, it can be difficult to prove medical malpractice. Fortunately, you do have options if you are hurt.

You Have Opportunities for Legal Support When Suffering Because of a Lack of Informed Consent

Following harm caused by a lack of informed consent, you may struggle to recover from the injuries and damages you have suffered. Fortunately, you can take action by filing a medical malpractice claim. However, medical malpractice claims can be challenging to navigate, and they require a higher burden of proof.

At Paulson Coletti Trial Attorneys PC, we focus on helping our clients get fair compensation when a lack of informed consent has injured them. We also offer free consultations to those who have questions about their claim and are unsure where to begin. To learn more about our services, call or fill out our online contact form.