If a consent form is properly explained and signed, it is unlikely that a patient can sue for malpractice or lack of informed consent.
If the consent form is not filled out properly by the physician, is poorly written, or not complied with, it may allow for a malpractice lawsuit. For example, a poorly written consent form may omit important risks or complications.
How Does Consent Work?
Before a doctor treats a patient in any way, he has to explain every important piece of treatment. Explanations are owed to the patient, guardian, or legal representative. This information will include:
- A description of the procedure or drug
- Potential risks and complications (even for minor procedures)
- Purpose and desired outcome
- Potential alternatives
- How likely success is
When this information is understand by a patient, she is considered informed enough to move forward with treatment. In the state of Indiana, informed consent is required. However, it does not have to be in writing.
In cases where consent doesn’t have to be in writing, a consent form adds proof that consent was given. Be careful though: signing any old form is not the same thing as informed consent. Be sure that any form that requires a signature is properly explained beforehand.
When Can I Sue if I Signed a Consent Form?
Any action that goes beyond what a patient agreed to in the consent form could be considered negligence.
For example, a doctor can’t perform a different procedure than the one agreed to in the consent form (unless it is required in the middle of a procedure). Even if the new procedure was a success, it was not consented to. A patient can also sue if the procedure was unnecessary or a mistake.
The only exception to this is in emergency situations. If a patient is incapacitated and emergency treatment is required, a doctor can make a decision without consent.
Our Medical Malpractice Attorneys Want to Help
Our Indianapolis medical malpractice attorneys have been in the business of malpractice for over 30 years. We’re here to offer free, no-obligation consultations for all victims. Reach out in our contact form or give us a call at 317.920.6400.