Seattle WA Informed Consent Lawyers
Informed Consent As It Applies to Medical Malpractice in Washington
Patients don't have the knowledge about medical procedures as well as their doctor. It's the legal responsibility of medical professional to inform their patients about the risks involved with serious medical treatments and procedures. Once informed of the procedure the doctor recommends, the patient must give their approval. This responsibility is known as "informed consent." When a doctor fails to properly inform a patient of the risks involved with a procedure, it's a form of medical malpractice. A claim for failing to obtain informed consent can be made in conjunction with a case for medical negligence or medical malpractice.
This important protection is in place for patients to ensure they're aware of all the risks and benefits of undergoing a treatment or procedure. As a patient, you have the right to process all the information and make the final decision about your medical treatment.
If you believe that you or a loved one weren't given enough information before receiving medical treatment, it's important to contact an experienced medical malpractice lawyer in Seattle. Hardwick & Pendergast, P.S. can help you better understand your legal rights and options.
The Importance of Informed Consent in Washington
Informed consent is important because most medical procedures involve some risk. Doctors can't just carry out treatment without the patient's consent. So it's the doctor's responsibility to provide the necessary details to help patients make informed decisions. Unless a patient is unconscious or medically incapable of making such decisions, they should have the right to deny or approve any medical treatment.
Depending on the type of procedure the doctor recommends, they may have the patient sign a consent form detailing the risks. Signing this form DOES NOT automatically prove the patient gave informed consent. In fact, the doctor must actually discuss the procedure and risks with the patient and the patient must understand the risks he or she faces.
When a patient doesn't provide informed consent and if that patient would have opted out of the procedure had they'd known of the risks, the patient could be able to sue the doctor for malpractice.
Understanding the Risks of Medical Procedures
It's important to note that a doctor DOES NOT have to inform the patient of every possible consequence of a procedure. Under the law, they only have to inform the patient about major risks. Determining what amounts to major risk and what type of information a doctor is legally required to give can get tricky. In medical malpractice cases relating to informed consent, the court will review if other doctors would have disclosed the risk, and whether the patient would've made a different decision being informed of risks.
Not every medical procedure requires informed consent. In an emergency procedure, the physician may have to act quickly, and is unable to request informed consent. Doctors do not always have to receive consent from a patient who is emotionally fragile or mentally incapable of making critical decisions.
Each case is different. The facts of each malpractice claim deserve a careful examination.
Contacting an Experienced Washington Informed Consent Lawyer
If you suffered harm because of a medical treatment or procedure to you didn't give consent for, you'll want to research your legal rights and options. A Washington informed consent attorney can review the circumstances of your case and help you determine if you have an informed consent claim. Compensation may be available for:
- Medical expenses
- Lost income
- Cost of unnecessary surgeries or treatments
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
Please contact the experienced Seattle personal injury lawyer at Hardwick & Pendergast, P.S. at (888) 228-3860 for a no-cost, no-obligation consultation.