When you were referred to a doctor for specialized medical treatment, you rightfully expected that you would receive the proper treatment for your condition. The specialist told you they could treat your condition with a new procedure — but they did not fully explain the risks.
Knowing that this specialist went to medical school and obtained years of experience, you relied on their guidance without question to your great detriment. Now, your health situation is worse. You feel betrayed because you were never fully informed of the risks you faced.
What is informed consent?
“Informed consent” is the right for you to receive information regarding your medical issue, the treatment choices you have and the risks of each treatment. You also have the right to know your prognosis if you elect to not follow through on a specific treatment.
You have the right to receive this informed consent in plain, easy-to-understand language. This information should be complete enough for you to make informed decisions about your health care.
Your doctor should also be willing to discuss alternatives to their preferred course of treatment and what your odds of success may be. (In general, if a doctor isn’t willing to discuss your options, that’s a bad sign.)
Failure to gain informed consent leads to unauthorized treatment
If your specialist does not seek informed consent to treat your condition, this can be considered an act of medical negligence or medical malpractice. If you suffer an injury as a result of the treatment, you have every right to pursue a civil claim for your losses. While money won’t restore your good health, it can provide for your comfort and your family’s needs.