Essential Features of Informed Consent

Any patient that could benefit from utilization of a specific medical procedure must provide informed consent for the performance of such a procedure. Yet the term informed consent refers to more than the simple act of granting permission to a physician for the act of performing a given procedure, in order to correct a given condition, as per personal injury lawyer in Brentwood.

Doctors must explain the possible risks, and make sure that the patients understand them.

A physician might have someone that has already undergone the procedure speak with the injured or ailing patient. Each physician must select one of 2 different approaches to the act of revealing the known risks.

What are the 2 different approaches?

• Sharing information on the sorts of risks that a competent doctor would disclose to patients
• Disclosing the realistic alternatives to the suggested test or operation.

How a doctor’s chosen approach could affect a possible malpractice case

Any list that had copied the disclosures of a competent doctor would get studied and judged by an expert. A listing of realistic alternatives would present the patient’s perspective, and would not require the opinions that might be offered during expert testimony.

A doctor that had presented the alternatives could not be sued for malpractice, unless that alternative procedure turned out to be a mistake.

Situations where a physician does not need to receive a patient’s informed consent

During the short span of time before the same physician plans to carry out an emergency procedure

During the time that could pass before a doctor’s introduction of a life-saving treatment: That treatment could be a surgical procedure, or it could be an attempt to restore the action of the lungs or the heart.

If a doctor has not had time for obtaining informed consent, he or she must explain to the patient the reason for the absence of information on the planned procedure’s risks.

If a patient did not understand the reason for the doctor’s silence, regarding a given procedure’s risks, that same patient might ask about receiving a second opinion. It would then be up to the consulted physician to decide whether or not it would be appropriate to allow time for introduction of a second opinion.

Doctors are not under any obligation to go along with a request for a second opinion. Still, if that same opinion would be coming from a highly respected physician, a doctor would probably allow it, as long as time permitted.

A doctor’s experience should indicate that a respected physician would offer the consulting patient a view that supported the earlier suggestion. Patients that had obtained the name of a respected physician would be more likely to be granted permission for going after another doctor’s opinion.

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