Before a medical professional treats you, they should clearly explain your treatment options as well as the risks and benefits of each. Only then can a doctor obtain the informed consent that’s necessary to move forward with your care.
And being informed is one of your rights as a patient. If you’re not given adequate information to make your healthcare decisions, you could end up at risk of being harmed by a medical error. After all, treating you without consent is medical malpractice.
How can you ensure that you’re being fully informed?
This is a good question. After all, you don’t know the ins and outs of the medical field like your doctor does. But here are some steps that you can take to make sure that you’re consenting to medical treatment only after you have all of the information that you need:
- Ask questions: A lot of people try to move their medical care along as quickly as possible. While that haste is necessary under some circumstances, if possible, you really should take the time needed to understand what your doctor is saying. Therefore, you shouldn’t be afraid to ask questions about proposed treatment options.
- Read all documentation: To ensure that you’ve consented to a particular course of treatment, your medical provider is going to ask you to sign some forms. Make sure you read those forms before signing so that you know exactly what you’re getting into.
- Educate yourself: If you need time to consider your treatment options, tell your doctor. Then you can take the time you need to research those treatment options and their risks. You can even obtain a second opinion during that time.
What if you’ve already been injured?
If you’ve already been injured by medical malpractice, a lack of informed consent may help support your legal claim. There’s a lot that goes into a medical malpractice case in New York or Pennsylvania, though, so you should be diligent in building your case so that you can maximize your chances of obtaining accountability and the compensation that you deserve.