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Informed Consent in Medical Malpractice Cases

The principle of informed consent in medical procedures is a major element of many medical malpractice lawsuits. Basically, this means that a doctor, before performing a procedure with known risks, must inform the patient about those risks before the patient gives permission for the procedure. If the doctor does not get this permission, or gets it without informing the patient of the known risks, there may be grounds for a medical malpractice suit.

Of course, any doctor will tell you that any procedure carries many potential risks, most of which are so infinitesimally unlikely that they’re not worth worrying the patient over. Therefore, in order to qualify as a violation of informed consent, a plaintiff must prove one of the following:

  • That a competent doctor would have disclosed the risk to the patient
  • That a normal patient would have made a different decision if informed of the risk

There are some situations when informed consent does not apply: emergencies when there is no time to disclose risks, or in the case of patients whose condition will be made seriously worse by the anxiety that the knowledge would create. Again, the question of whether or not informed consent applies comes down to the criteria listed above: Would the average competent doctor withhold information in the interest of time or health concerns? And would a normal patient prefer to be treated immediately, or to suffer the effects of a delay?

If you think a doctor failed to follow the principle of informed consent when treating your or a loved one, contact McWhirter, Bellinger & Associates for a free case evaluation. Our medical malpractice lawyers have the necessary experience and contacts within the South Carolina medical community to pursue your case. We serve clients in Sumter, Columbia, Lexington, Camden, and the surrounding areas. Call us at 1-888-353-5513 today.