The Basics of Informed Consent and Medical Procedures

Informed consent and how it relates to medical procedures can sometimes be difficult for patients to understand. It exists to protect medical professionals from legal ramifications leveraged by former patients. How are consent and medical procedures related?

What is Informed Consent?

In simple terms, informed consent is an ethical concept. It denotes that patients should both understand and agree that there may be certain consequences in relation to the medical care they receive.

How Did the Concept of Informed Consent Arise?

One of the first recorded of informed consent occurred in 1914. A medical professional at a New York Hospital discovered a tumor in a patient during a routine biopsy.

By removing the tumor from the patient’s abdomen without direct consent to do so, a judge ruled that the medical professional’s procedure had, in fact, constituted battery. Despite this instance gaining some traction in the media, the first case to officially utilize informed consent wasn’t until the 1950’s.

Failure to Obtain Informed Consent

All 50 states now have informed consent legislation in one form or another. Although the terms may differ slightly from one to the next, the founding concept is largely the same – medical professionals must obtain consent prior to performing any procedures. Any professionals who don’t are liable for legal repercussions in the form of battery and negligence charges.

Are There Any Exceptions to Informed Consent?

There are some situations where informed consent does not apply and, therefore, these circumstances cannot provide a gateway to a medical malpractice lawsuit:

Medical emergencies: in emergency situations where there simply isn’t the time to attain consent, an exception can be made.

Mental incompetency: if an individual is deemed medically incompetent, an exception to informed consent can be made.

Physical incapacity: in instances where individuals are physically unable to provide consent, an exception can also be made.

How You Can Stay on the Right Side of Informed Consent

Sadly, even after reading and signing the forms, many patients still don’t fully understand informed consent and the permissions it grants their medical staff.

By enlisting the services of a trained criminal defense attorney, you’ll be able to ensure that you stay on the right side of the law. Your attorney will be able to produce robust and comprehensive consent forms that will help you to avoid any potential medical malpractice claims that could otherwise arise.

This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you or someone you know wishes to seek the help of an experienced personal injury attorney regarding Consent and Medical Procedures, or other personal injury matters, call 480.461.5300. Udall Shumway PLC is located in Mesa, Arizona and is a full service law firm. We assist Individuals, families, businesses, schools and municipalities in Mesa and the Phoenix/East Valley.