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Informed Consent?

Informed Consent is required before many medical procedures. Patients sign Informed Consent forms in doctor’s offices and hospitals. There are consents for anesthesia, surgery, certain medications and diagnostic tests or treatments. The typical Informed Consent form provides the patient with a list of things that can go wrong – “risks of the procedure.” For instance, one might bleed after surgery or develop an infection.

Suzanne_McDonoughSo, what does it mean to a patient who suffers permanent harm when one of those bad things happens? What it does not mean is that because you signed the form, you may not sue a doctor whose negligence caused the bad thing to happen. When a health care provider renders substandard care resulting in harm to the patient, the health care provider may well be liable for negligence – even if the event was contemplated by a signed consent. A doctor may not negligently injure a patient and then hide behind a consent form.

If a patient is harmed because a doctor withheld material information from the patient, that may give rise to another kind of claim for damages – even where there was no medical negligence.

Another “consent” related issue that sometimes arises is where the doctor makes a guarantee or a promise of a certain outcome and it does not materialize. Those communications are usually oral and rarely included in the signed Consent form.

Figuring out whether a bad outcome was the result of negligence or failure to provide/obtain informed consent or breach of warranty or was merely a risk of the procedure requires a careful review of the medical records and often, communication with a medical expert.

Our medical malpractice attorneys have been evaluating cases for nearly 20 years. Attorney McDonough was a nurse for 20 years before that. We have the proven expertise to assess and prosecute each of these kinds of cases. 617-898-0808

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