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What to Do if Your Doctor Does Not Inform You of a Specific Risk?

Anyone who’s undergone a medical procedure or surgery knows there is typically a detailed list of possible complications that can occur. The risks can be minor or severe, depending on the procedure and healthcare professionals are required to get your informed consent before proceeding with the procedure or surgery. 

If you feel your physician didn’t inform you of all the potential risks of a procedure, and you were injured because of their negligence, you could potentially file a medical malpractice claim. It’s essential that you first speak with a New York medical malpractice attorney, like those at Dalli & Marino, LLP, about your potential case to help you get the justice you deserve.

What is Informed Consent?

The informed consent process occurs when doctor and patient communication leads to the patient’s agreement or authorization to undergo a certain medical intervention according to the American Medical Association (AMA). If the patient doesn’t have the decision-making capacity, this informed consent conversation can occur between the doctor and the patient’s surrogate.

During this conversation, the doctor will explain the risks and benefits of the proposed surgery or procedure, and the patient is then provided with the chance to ask questions until they clearly understand the proposed procedure. In some cases, patients may decide the risks are not worth taking for the benefits the proposed procedure is supposed to provide. 

Simply obtaining a signature on a form isn’t considered informed consent, however. The patient must be provided with a complete notice about the care, service, or treatment the doctor is providing. Prior to starting the treatment or medical procedure, the doctor must inform the patient of:

  • The nature of the care or procedure
  • The risks associated with the procedure
  • Alternative options

After the patient receives all the required information and understands all associated risks, they then have the right to consent to the treatment or refuse it.

What to Do If Your Doctor Didn’t Disclose All Risks?

If you’ve suffered a substantial complication that resulted from a treatment or procedure you would not have agreed to had you known all the risks associated with it, it may be classified as medical malpractice. A New York medical malpractice lawyer can go through your medical records and evaluate the facts of your case and inform you whether or not you have a medical malpractice claim for which you can recover compensation.

Also, it can also be medical malpractice if the consent form didn’t properly inform you of all known risks. The consent form is the doctor’s proof that they properly informed you of the procedure’s nature and risks, as well as any alternatives. You can also refer to this informed consent to confirm the details of what the doctor told you. 

When Healthcare Professionals Aren’t Required to Disclose a Specific Risk

There are specific exceptions to the informed consent requirement in all medical treatments and procedures. One common exception to the requirement is during an emergency situation where the physician is acting quickly to save a patient’s life during an emergency. The doctor may not be able to get the informed consent of the patient or a surrogate at that particular moment. 

In other cases, a physician might not obtain the informed consent of the patient if informing a patient with severe anxiety of a specific risk may cause them to refuse treatment that can save their life. But, the physician must be able to explain how disclosure of the risk could have caused the patient more harm than withholding it would have. 

In certain cases, a physician may recognize an additional issue during a medical procedure or surgery that wasn’t on the consent form. For instance, the physician is repairing a fractured bone during a surgical procedure on a patient and notices a severely damaged nerve. They must then make the decision whether or not to repair this damaged nerve during the surgical bone procedure. In this type of situation, the physician may have a good reason to move forward with the repair of the damaged nerve without obtaining the patient’s informed consent for this additional surgery.

It’s easy then to see how a medical malpractice case can be very complex and challenging and warrants a consultation with an experienced medical malpractice attorney right away.

Speak With One of Our Experienced New York Medical Malpractice Lawyers at Dalli & Marino, LLP Today

You shouldn’t ever feel blindsided by a medical complication or side effect that was an undisclosed risk. Our experienced New York medical malpractice attorneys at Dalli & Marino, LLP help individuals who have suffered devastating injuries or harm from medical treatments or procedures.

It’s your right as the patient to decide how, if, and when you receive treatment from your doctors. If your doctor fails to get your informed consent on a procedure with known risks, you may be entitled to compensation. Call our office today at (888) 465-8790 or fill out our online form to schedule your free consultation with one of our experienced and highly-skilled medical malpractice lawyers.

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