What is Informed Consent? | Scartelli Olszewski, P.C.
nurse telling woman about informed consent

What is Informed Consent and Its Connection to Medical Malpractice?

Peter Olszewski
Peter Olszewski

When it comes to your healthcare, you should be informed about everything. Unless you’re incapacitated, there’s no reason for you to not know all the potential procedures and outcomes your practitioner is considering when treating your illness, injury, or condition. If you are incapacitated, then your executor should be able to ask for any of this information instead. After you have been informed of all the options available, you can then choose your preferred option of care, and this choice is made with informed consent.

But what if you don’t have all the information you should? What if the doctor had a profound belief in one of the options or a strong preference when there was another option they didn’t present to you? If something goes wrong, or doesn’t improve your circumstances as much as it should have, then your lack of informed consent could be grounds for a medical malpractice case.

For more information about medical malpractice, contact the attorneys at Scartelli Olszewski, P.C.

What is Informed Consent?

Everyone in the United States has the right to be fully informed to the best of their healthcare provider’s ability. This includes any medical procedure or treatment one could receive prior to it being completed. This doesn’t mean that each doctor has to inform you of every possible medical option. This can be untenable in many instances. They do have to inform you of another option that they were actively informed of, especially ones they were recommended by other medical professionals.

This is considered an ethical concept first, but it has also become a legal concept that has forced hospitals to treat it as a necessary formal administrative process. If you have signed a form before surgery, it’s likely a form confirming that you are of sound mind and are consenting to the surgery.

What Does Informed Consent Have to Do With Medical Malpractice?

The lack of informed consent is common grounds for medical malpractice cases. There are times when you have not been properly informed of all of the medical options or risks associated with your illness, disease, or other condition. Sometimes you have been asked to sign informed consent forms when you were not of sound mind and had no trusted executor on hand.

If this leads to a procedure or medication that harms you or doesn’t improve your condition as much as another potential treatment, you can sue for medical malpractice and damages. Even if the surgery, procedure, or medication you were given was the only option available and could have performed better, you can still file a lawsuit for medical malpractice if you were not of sound mind or were misinformed prior to your surgery.

What Healthcare Treatments Require Informed Consent?

Not every form of healthcare requires informed consent. For example, in a medical emergency where you’re incapacitated and no one else is available, the medical practitioners can make medical decisions they believe will lead to the best possible outcome for you.

Healthcare treatments that require informed consent include:

  • Certain vaccines
  • Procedures that involved medical students in the operating room
  • Medical implants
  • Biopsies
  • Surgery
  • High-risk medications, such as opioids
  • Medical implants
  • Blood transfusions
  • Procedures where something goes inside your body, like an endoscopy
  • Childbirth intervention measures
  • Anesthesia
  • Radiation
  • Chemotherapy
  • Genetic Testing
  • Clinical trials involving human research subjects

While not necessarily a medical procedure, healthcare professionals do need your informed consent to share your personal information with anyone outside of your executor.

Contact Scartelli Olszewski, P.C. if Your Informed Consent was Violated

There’s no reason to not tell you all of your options. If you’re a fully-functioning adult – or you have an executor – your doctor does not need to make decisions for you. They are supposed to tell you all of the options they know of to the best of their ability.

If they have misled you or had you sign for informed consent when you were not able, this is a violation of your rights and medical malpractice on their part. You could have made a decision that could have led to better treatment or an outcome you’re more comfortable with.

Contact the medical malpractice attorneys at Scartelli Olszewski, P.C. for more information and legal help today.

Peter Olszewski
Peter Olszewski

Peter Paul Olszewski, Jr., a shareholder and managing partner at Scartelli Olszewski, P.C., brings 37 years of litigation experience. He is a renowned trial lawyer in Pennsylvania, specializing in medical malpractice, personal injury, and criminal defense. Peter's notable achievements include securing multi-million-dollar verdicts and serving as District Attorney and Judge. He is committed to community involvement and is actively engaged in various legal associations.
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