Medical Malpractice – Failure to Obtain Informed Consent

Our client—a fifty-four-year-old husband and father—was referred to an ophthalmologist after his treating eye doctor noticed that a long-time spot on his eye may have grown in size. This specialist doctor advised our client that there was a 30% chance that the spot in his eye would transform into melanoma.

The doctor told him this even though she had written a peer-reviewed article stating there was at most a 13% chance, and as a little as a 0 percent chance, that such a condition would transform into cancerous melanoma. Our client, of course, did not know that.

Under the law, a doctor needs to provide all the known risks and complications of a surgical procedure. And so, our client took the doctor’s recommendation to have surgery on his eye to remove the spot.

After the surgery, the condition was found to be benign, meaning there was no chance the condition could have turned into cancer. Not only did our client undergo an unnecessary surgery, but as a result of the surgery, he developed a severe condition known as acute diplopia.

The condition is permanent and forced him to retire from his profession – dentistry – and prevented him from doing many of the daily activities we all take for granted due to his seriously impaired eyesight. After extensive litigation and before trial, we were able to obtain a favorable settlement against the doctor.

Understanding Informed Consent

What is the Purpose of Informed Consent?

Informed consent is designed to protect your right to make decisions about what happens with your body in regards to healthcare. It is a form of communication between the patient and the healthcare provider that gives permission for types and levels of:

  • Care
  • Services
  • Treatment

The informed consent process ensures that your healthcare provider has offered you information about the condition and your options, prior to you making the decision on what medical steps you choose.

When it comes to informed consent, you have the right to choose what to do with your body. The only way to make an informed decision is to learn about the benefits and adverse effects of a specific medical procedure.

Before going forward with medical treatment or surgery, your healthcare provider must help you understand how the procedure can help or harm you and obtain your consent to proceed. Informed consent involves a discussion with your doctor, your diagnosis, the purpose of the recommended procedure, the benefits and risk of going through with the medical treatment or not, as well as the benefits and risks of any alternatives.

If you are not made aware of the potential risks and it results in an injury you should’ve known was possible, you may be able to bring a medical malpractice claim.

For more information about informed consent, contact our Philadelphia medical malpractice attorneys at Marciano & MacAvoy, P.C. today.

How Can We Help?