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Lack of informed consent may result in medical malpractice

Your doctor may know best when it comes to your medical care. That doesn't mean they can treat you without your consent. Before a physician can perform a procedure on a patient, they are legally required to provide their patients with information regarding their condition and possible treatments so that the patient can make an informed decision about their care. Before a physician can perform a procedure on a patient, the patient must give informed consent to undergo said procedure.

When a doctor fails to properly inform their patient or fails to get the patient's informed consent before performing a procedure, they could be subjected to a medical malpractice lawsuit. The patient would have to prove that the doctor did not do his or her due diligence in explaining the advantages and risks of a particular procedure and that the procedure was performed without their consent. The patient would also have to prove that if they had known all the information, they would not have gone through with the procedure. Finally, the patient will have to show that they were injured because of the procedure.

Another thing to keep in mind is that patients must be legally competent in order to give informed consent. Patients with certain forms of mental illness or other impairments or patients under the age of 18 are legally incompetent and therefore cannot consent to medical treatment. In such cases, the patient's parent or guardian must give consent based on the same information the doctor would give a competent patient.

If a Maryland physician performs an unauthorized treatment on a patient that causes the patient harm, they may be liable for medical malpractice. Medical malpractice victims are entitled to receive damages to cover their medical costs, lost wages and other expenses.

Source: FindLaw, "Informed Consent and Unauthorized Treatment," accessed on Sept. 18, 2017

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