When it comes to your health and the health of your loved ones, making informed, carefully thought-out treatment decisions is very important. Unfortunately, not all of us can be experts on the human body. To be fully aware of every medical risk, alternative, and option, we all must rely on our doctors to keep us informed.
The Legal Duty
Autonomy and the right of self-determination are foundational principles in the American way of life. However, in the medical context, it is impossible for most individuals to make informed decisions without the meaningful assistance of physicians.
Treatment decisions are ultimately up to patients, however, doctors are legally required to provide information that may impact patients’ choices. Doctors must describe what any proposed treatment involves, the risks of receiving (or not receiving) a given procedure, the odds of success, and any reasonable alternative options. Once all the relevant information has been disclosed to patients, they are empowered and can approve what’s known as informed consent.
Recourse for Patients
If doctors fail to inform patients of possible risks or potential alternative treatments, they may be liable for medical malpractice.
If you were harmed as a result of your doctor’s failure to obtain your informed consent prior to a procedure, your doctor may be legally at fault for your injuries.
For example, imagine that prior to undergoing an operation your doctor failed to tell you the potential risks of harm that could result if you were to undergo the procedure. Subsequently, you in fact suffered injuries. But, you know and can show that if you were made aware of the potential harm involved, you would have abstained from going under the knife.
In this instance, your doctor may be compelled to compensate you for losses resulting from your injury, such as medical bills, pain and suffering, or lost wages because of an inability to work.
If you believe your doctor may have f ailed to provide you with adequate information prior to surgery, consulting with a medical malpractice attorney is advised. Individuals in Connecticut are encouraged to speak with a Connecticut medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible to explore legal options.