Health care providers are required to provide patients with the information they need to make an informed decision about their health care and to obtain permission before proceeding with medical treatments. A medical malpractice lawyer Philadelphia PA trusts at the Wieand Law Firm can investigate whether your physician obtained your informed consent and help you seek legal compensation if they didn’t. Contact our legal team today to learn more about your legal rights and options during a free case review and consultation.
What is Informed Consent?
Informed consent is a legal and ethical principle that requires individuals to be provided with relevant and accurate information before making a voluntary decision about participating in a particular activity or treatment. In medical contexts, it typically refers to the process by which healthcare professionals communicate the benefits, risks, and alternatives of a particular medical intervention or procedure to a patient, and obtain the patient’s voluntary agreement to undergo the intervention or procedure.
Informed consent requires that the individual is able to understand the information provided to them and make a voluntary decision based on that information, without coercion or manipulation. The process of obtaining informed consent typically involves providing the individual with information about the potential benefits and risks of the activity or treatment, as well as information about alternative options and their risks and benefits. The individual is then given the opportunity to ask questions and clarify any uncertainties before deciding.
Informed consent is an important principle in medical ethics, as it respects the autonomy and rights of the patient and allows them to make an informed decision about their own healthcare. It is also required in the United States, where it is a fundamental element of the legal doctrine of medical malpractice.
Unfortunately, some health care providers choose to disregard this requirement and fail to obtain informed consent. When unauthorized procedures cause patient harm, a medical malpractice lawyer Philadelphia PA relies on at the Wieand Law Firm can seek compensation for the damages sustained.
When is Informed Consent Needed Prior to Medical Care?
Informed consent is required before a patient undergoes any medical procedure or treatment that could potentially cause harm or have significant consequences. Specifically, informed consent is generally needed in the following situations:
- Surgical procedures: Informed consent is required before a surgical procedure, no matter how minor or major it may be. This includes procedures such as biopsies, cosmetic surgery, and organ transplants.
- Diagnostic tests: Informed consent is required before a diagnostic test that may carry some risk or cause discomfort, such as CT scans, MRI scans, and endoscopy.
- Medical treatments: Informed consent is required before a medical treatment that may have potential side effects, such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy.
- Anesthesia: Informed consent is required before a patient undergoes anesthesia for a medical procedure.
In general, the process of obtaining informed consent involves discussing the details of the procedure or treatment with the patient, including its purpose, risks, benefits, and alternatives. The patient should be given the opportunity to ask questions and clarify any uncertainties before making a decision about whether to proceed. The specifics of when informed consent is required may vary depending on the laws and regulations of different countries and jurisdictions, as well as the specific circumstances of the medical procedure or treatment.
Are There Situations in Which Informed Consent Is Not Required?
Informed consent may not be required in certain situations where the activity or treatment is deemed low-risk or where there are legal exceptions. However, the specifics of when informed consent is not required may vary depending on the laws and regulations your specific jurisdiction. Here are some general examples of situations where informed consent may not be required:
- Emergency situations: In emergency situations where immediate medical intervention is necessary to save a person’s life, obtaining informed consent may not be possible or feasible.
- Standard medical procedures: In certain routine medical procedures such as a physical examination or taking a blood sample, informed consent may not be necessary if the procedures are considered low-risk and the patient is aware of what is being done.
- Public health measures: In some cases, informed consent may not be required for public health measures such as mandatory vaccinations, quarantine, or contact tracing during infectious disease outbreaks.
- Treatment of minors: In some situations, informed consent may not be required for the treatment of minors, especially in emergency situations or when the minor is unable to make decisions for themselves. In these situations, typically the parent or guardian must give consent on the child’s behalf.
- Therapeutic privilege: In very rare cases, a doctor may decide not to disclose certain information to a patient if they believe that doing so would cause harm or distress to the patient.
It’s important to note that even in situations where informed consent is not required, medical professionals are still obligated to act in the best interest of their patients and provide them with appropriate care. If you are unsure if your situation required informed consent, reach out to a medical malpractice lawyer Philadelphia PA counts on at the Wieand Law Firm for a free, no obligation consultation. We represent injured victims, and our legal team can investigate the claim to identify if lack of informed consent resulted in patient harm.
If a doctor performs a different procedure than the one you consented to without your knowledge or permission, reach out to a medical malpractice lawyer Philadelphia PA depends on for help. In such a case, you may be able to file a medical malpractice lawsuit against the doctor.
To prove a medical malpractice case based on unauthorized treatment, you would likely need to show that the doctor failed to obtain your informed consent for the procedure, and that you suffered harm as a result of the unauthorized treatment. It’s important to note that the harm you suffered must be directly related to the unauthorized treatment, and not just a result of the underlying condition or the intended procedure.
To pursue a medical malpractice lawsuit, you should consult with an experienced medical malpractice attorney, who can review the details of your case and advise you on your legal options. The laws and regulations regarding medical malpractice lawsuits can vary depending on the jurisdiction, so it’s important to have a knowledgeable attorney who understands the legal landscape in your area.
How Long Do I Have to File a Claim for Medical Malpractice?
In Pennsylvania and New Jersey, the statute of limitations for medical malpractice claims is generally two years from the date of the injury or from the date that the injury should have been discovered. This means that if you believe you have a medical malpractice claim, you must file a lawsuit within two years of the date of the injury or within two years of when the injury should have been discovered.
There are some exceptions to this general rule, such as in cases involving minors or individuals with disabilities, where the statute of limitations may be longer. Additionally, Pennsylvania law allows for a “discovery rule” exception, which means that the two-year statute of limitations may be tolled until the patient discovers or should have reasonably discovered the injury.
It’s important to note that the statute of limitations for medical malpractice claims in Pennsylvania can be complex, and there are several factors that can impact the timeline for filing a lawsuit. Consult with an experienced medical malpractice lawyer Philadelphia PA trusts as soon as possible if you believe you have a claim. An attorney can help you navigate the legal system, gather evidence, and build a strong case in your favor.
If your physician performed a procedure without your informed consent and you suffered harm as a result, reach out to the Wieand Law Firm regarding your legal rights. Our team of Philadelphia personal injury attorneys will fight tirelessly to help you secure the compensation you deserve for your injuries. Our consultation are always free and no-obligation. Call 215-666-7777 to speak directly with an attorney.