What to Know Before Signing a Medical Consent Form | Scartelli
doctor explaining medical consent form | scartelli olszewski, p.c.

Everything You Need to Know Before Signing a Medical Consent Form

Scartelli Olszewski P.C.
Scartelli Olszewski P.C.

It is a healthcare professional’s job is to help you, but it’s important to remember that despite providing medical aid, they are also part of a business. In America, healthcare is an industry, and hospitals are a storefront. Individual doctors may want to put their patients first, but the people at the top will always protect the business before you. This is one of the reasons you may be required to sign a medical consent form before many major operations.

This is also the main reason why you should have a complete understanding of what a medical consent form entails before you sign one. If you have never signed one before and are about to undergo major surgery, consider contacting the medical malpractice attorneys at Scartelli Olszewski, P.C., if your health allows. You deserve to be as informed as possible before entering the operating room.

What Does it Mean to Sign a Medical Consent Form?

When you sign a medical consent form, you are giving your doctor or surgeon permission to do one of several things, depending on your medical situation, including but not limited to:

  • Conduct a specific surgery on you, and any emergency surgeries they feel may need to occur to preserve your life.
  • Perform emergency procedures on you during your stay.
  • Medicate you for pain without asking your explicit permission each time, particularly when you may be unable to answer.

By signing this paper, you are saying that you understand and accept the risks of what they may have to do. This includes any unforeseen side effects associated with the planned procedure, emergency procedure, or medications, even if it ends up being something you would not have agreed to had you been able to say so.

How is this Related to Medical Malpractice?

We say it’s important to understand what a medical consent form says because of the potential for medical malpractice.

Medical malpractice occurs when a medical professional, or someone working in the medical industry, fails to adhere to the standard of care and a patient suffers injury or harm as a result. This can be a mistake in the operating room, during diagnosis, or when manufacturing a medical tool or product.

It is essential to understand your rights and responsibilities in such cases and talk with your doctor about any concerns that you may have before signing a medical consent form. Based on your medical consent form, it may be possible for your doctor to suggest an alternative treatment that you would or wouldn’t prefer. It may also be possible for them to provide a more detailed explanation of the process if necessary, so make sure to ask questions where needed.

Your Doctor’s Responsibility to You

It is important to remember that your doctor has a duty of care toward you. This means they should always act in your best interests and many will. This doesn’t mean that they won’t make serious mistakes and seek the protection of the hospital if they do. By understanding the process and potential risks associated with signing a medical consent form, you are taking an important step to ensure that your health is protected.

Make sure to always read the documents carefully and ask any questions that you may have before signing. If you have time before your surgery, ask for the form and bring it to an attorney. If you do not, make sure you have a copy of it for after the fact in case anything goes wrong. This can be supporting evidence if you need to file a medical malpractice case later.

What Information Needs to be in a Medical Consent Form?

There are certain details your medical consent form must provide you for you to sign it. The form or the doctor must provide certain information, such as:

  • The type of procedure
  • The risks involved
  • Any potential alternative treatments available
  • The benefits of the treatment (including how it may improve your quality of life)

Make sure to ask your doctor if there is anything else you should know before signing the form.

What Should You Do if You Aren’t Sure About a Medical Consent Form?

You always want to make sure you understand what a medical consent form is asking of you. Complicated legal jargon is not there to benefit you but to protect the hospital. Don’t sign a form you don’t understand, though if a medical emergency makes you feel like you have to, please get a copy.

Our attorneys can break down the medical consent form and how you can seek damages for medical malpractice even after signing the form. For help, contact us today.