Modern medicine is complicated. Patients have a general legal right to make decisions regarding their own treatment. Under the theory of informed consent, doctors and other medical professionals should explain the purpose and risk of a particular course of treatment before the patient agrees to it. In some cases, a patient may even be asked to sign a consent form.
This raises an important question: Can you file a medical malpractice claim in New York if you gave informed consent? The short answer is ‘yes’—consent does not waive your rights to hold a negligee provider liable. Here, our Syracuse medical malpractice attorneys explain the most important things to know about informed consent and medical negligence claims in New York.
What Is Informed Consent and How Does It Work?
As a starting point, it is important to understand what informed consent is and how it works. The American Medical Association (AMA) defines informed consent as a patient’s overriding right to “receive information and ask questions about recommended treatments so that they can make well-considered decisions about care.” Here are three key elements of informed consent:
- Patients have a right to full disclosure of relevant information, including the risks of the procedure and the available alternatives (or lack thereof);
- The patient (or their surrogate decision-maker) must be legally competent to make an informed decision; and
- The decision must genuinely be voluntary.
Informed consent can be complicated. It is not uncommon for people to be confused about exactly how it works. If you have any questions about informed consent and the role in the process, do not hesitate to contact an experienced New York medical malpractice attorney for help with your case.
Consent Does Not Waiver Liability For Medical Malpractice
Almost all medical procedures carry risks. When a patient signs an informed consent form, they are acknowledging that they understand the inherent risks of the proposed treatment in question. Patients and their families should carefully weigh the risks of any medical intervention. At the same time, informed consent is not a liability waiver. A doctor, hospital, or other health care provider cannot make you agree to a malpractice liability waiver. Patients accept the inherent risks of the operation/medical treatment plan—they do not accept the risk of medical malpractice.
Many Issues Must Be Evaluated After An Incident
If a patient suffered harm after signing an informed consent waiver, they may still be eligible to bring a medical malpractice claim against a negligent doctor or health care provider. There are a number of different questions that will need to be evaluated, including:
- Was the patient’s initial diagnosis accurate?
- Did the doctor/medical provider clearly and accurately explain the risks associated with the medical treatment?
- Were any serious medical mistakes made during treatment?
- Did all medical professionals act with adequate professional skill and professional care?
When a surgery, operation, or other medical procedure goes awry, it is crucial that you reach out to an experienced Syracuse, NY medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible. A full and complete investigation is required to see exactly what went wrong.
The Bottom Line: An informed consent waiver is designed to ensure that the patient understands and accepts the inherent risks associated with a particular course of medical treatment. These waivers cannot be used to indemnify doctors or health care providers against liability for medical malpractice.
Contact Our New York Medical Malpractice Attorneys For Immediate Help
At Powers & Santola, LLP, our New York medical negligence attorneys are the professional skills and legal expertise that you can trust for results. If you have any questions about consent and medical malpractice, we can help. Contact our legal team for a no cost, fully confidential review of your legal case. Our law firm handles medical malpractice claims throughout New York, including in Onondaga County, Ontario County, Wayne County, Monroe County, Cayuga County, and Oswego County.