Failure of informed consent happens when a doctor or other practitioner fails to properly explain the risks of a procedure or fails to obtain consent for a medical procedure. If you were not properly informed of the possible risks and complications of a surgical or other procedure, you may be able to claim compensation.
Generally speaking, ‘informed consent’ depends on whether or not you, as the patient, would have agreed to the surgery if you had known and understood the possible risks and complications. Maurice Blackburn lawyers have successfully acted for patients and their families in medical malpractice cases arising from failures of informed consent.
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Were you properly informed of the risks?
The law requires doctors to advise a patient about risks involved in their situation. To make a successful medical negligence claim, you need to be able to show you would not have had the procedure if you were properly warned about the risks.
Medical negligence claims regarding a failure to warn about the risks of a procedure have been made in cases including:
- lap band surgery for weight loss;
- scarring and injury following breast surgery and ‘Mum’s makeover’;
- unimproved or worse vision following eye surgery; and
- change in pigmentation of the skin after laser treatment to the face.
Sometimes a procedure will be performed without any consent, such as in an emergency or under mental health legislation, and this may be acceptable. If you have not been properly informed of the possible risks and complications surgical or emergency medical advice or treatment, our experienced medical negligence lawyers can help you claim compensation.
Did you sign a consent form?
Before a planned surgical procedure, the surgeon will ask that you read and sign a consent form. It is important to note that the doctor, not a nurse or administrator, must obtain your consent. This signed consent form is considered a legal document that acknowledges your permission to the surgeon to perform the procedure. However, the consent form is only legal if you have been adequately warned about possible risks and complications, and if you have understood these warnings.
If you have doubts about the procedure, you should ask for more information. You can ask the doctor to explain the information to you again in simpler or different terms and if you don’t fully understand the information the doctor or surgeon gives you, then say so.