Medical Malpractice: The Importance of Informed Consent

Medical Malpractice: The Importance of Informed Consent

Feb 18

It is not surprising that the vast majority of society respects and adores physicians. The word itself conjures an image of an altruistic individual. They endured the rigorous hours of medical school, and they withstand long work hours and diminished sleep all for the safety and well-being of others. Still, despite their selfless character and expansive knowledge, physicians, like all humans, are flawed. They are capable of making mistakes; sadly, these blunders may come at the expense of an individual’s life. According to Mazin & Associates, medical malpractice can manifest in a variety of ways such as delayed or improper treatment, surgical errors, and pharmaceutical errors. The vast majority of individuals are aware of these common medical malpractices, however, lesser-known negligence demand the same level of attention. An example of a less common type of malpractice involves a physician’s failure to obtain informed consent.

Informed consent involves the provision of information regarding the patient’s medical condition, risks and side effects of the proposed treatment as well as the success rate involved in medical intervention. In the event that medical jargon prevents understanding of the information, it is the obligation of the physician to ensure the patient fully comprehends. This consent ensures that patients are capable of making the conscious decision of either accepting or refusing treatment. According to U.S. National Library of Medicine, in the event that the patient is no longer capable of making an informed decision, medical doctors can waive the right to an informed consent. Examples of when consent is no longer needed include but are not limited to severe mental health condition, risk to public health i.e. Tuberculosis, or serious and life-threatening illnesses, In all other cases, physicians must receive the informed consent of the patient prior to any medical interventions or be subject to medical litigations based on negligence.