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What Is Informed Consent?


When you go to the doctor, you may notice that you sign an awful lot of forms. One (or more) of them that you may not have paid much attention to is what is known as informed consent.

What Are Informed Consent Forms?

That’s because Florida law requires that before any doctor performs any kind of procedure on you, or does anything to you, the doctor needs to have your consent. That’s not just consent—that means informed consent. Informed means that you need to be told of what is being done to you, when, and what the benefits—and potential drawbacks or risks of the procedure might be.

You also need to be informed of alternatives to the procedure, including the very real possibility of just doing nothing at all.

Faulty Informed Consent

Many doctors may give informed consent—but just because a consent form was signed, doesn’t mean you were properly and fully told of the consequences of your medical procedure.

For example, in some cases, patients may be given informed consent when they are sitting in a surgical waiting room—when, practically, it is too late to back out of the procedure, and when the patient may not be of any sound mindset to make a rational choice.

Many informed consent forms are very generic, and may just give cursory or broad explanations of the things that need to be in a consent form. Some may omit the names of other doctors, who may be assisting in your procedure, or doing some part of it.

Technically, informed consent can be given verbally—but almost every doctor does it in writing, to avoid “he said-she said” situations over what was told to the patient and when.

Suing for Lack of Informed Consent

It is illegal to fail to give full informed consent disclosures to a patient. However, it is still difficult to sue, because the law allows the doctor to argue that even if it had given full and complete information to you about your procedure, you would have opted to do the procedure anyway.

In other words, let’s assume that there was some life saving surgery that you need on an emergency basis, and the doctor doesn’t give you adequate informed consent. Because you likely would have consented anyway—you had no real choice—it would be hard to sue the doctor for the failure to provide the informed consent.

Usually, when a patient sues for lack of informed consent, the claim is coupled with negligence or malpractice—in other words, it is rare to have a case where the only allegation is informed consent.

But if you are a victim of medical malpractice, your circumstances may dictate the inclusion of an informed consent claim.

Do you think you may have been a victim of medical malpractice? Often, patients are not even aware they may have a malpractice claim. Call the Tampa personal injury attorneys at Barbas Nunez Sanders Butler & Hovsepian today. Schedule a consultation today.


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