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Should doctors explain the risks before an operation?

On Behalf of | Feb 2, 2024 | Personal Injury

When facing a medical treatment, it’s crucial to understand its risks and benefits before giving your consent. This is known as informed consent, which means you agree to a treatment after your doctor has thoroughly explained all its details.

If your doctor proceeds with the treatment without obtaining your informed consent, you could potentially have grounds for a lawsuit.

Understanding informed consent

In Connecticut, physicians must obtain informed consent. This is not just an ethical necessity, but also a legal one. If they proceed with non-emergency procedures without obtaining proper consent, they may find themselves breaking the law. This is especially true if it turns out that the patient, knowing the risks, would have chosen to decline. In such cases, the law doesn’t hesitate to label these medical practitioners as negligent.

This could lead to a lawsuit if the following conditions are met:

  1. The doctor failed to inform you about the procedure’s risks or provided false or incorrect information.
  2. The procedure posed a substantial risk of serious harm, such as loss of sight, hearing, or memory.
  3. You suffered an injury as a result of a risk that the doctor failed to disclose.
  4. You would have refused the procedure if you had been informed of the risk.

Consider this example: if a doctor fails to inform you that an invasive procedure carries a 25% risk of leading to paralysis, and you become paralyzed after the operation, the doctor could face liability. This applies even if the doctor performed the operation flawlessly. The reason is that had you known about the risk, you might have chosen not to proceed with the surgery.

Seeking justice for injuries

Informed consent is a critical aspect of your health care rights and decisions. If your doctor fails to disclose the risks of a procedure and you suffer an injury as a result, you might have grounds for a medical malpractice suit. Such a claim involves certain legal complexities that can be challenging to navigate alone. So, consulting an attorney could be beneficial. They can help discuss your options and protect your interests by guiding you through the process.