Before surgery, a doctor has a duty to completely inform the patient about the proposed procedure and the risks that are associated with it. “Informed Consent,” gives the patient the ability to make an informed decision with as much information available regarding risks and alternatives about whether or not to undergo the procedure.

Components of Informed Consent

Nature and Purpose of Proposed Procedure

In order for the patient to be fully informed about a specific procedure, the doctor needs to outline precisely what the diagnosis is that is causing the procedure to be necessitated. The doctor should then explain how the procedure will be performed, and exactly how it will help or resolve the patient’s diagnosis.

Risks and Benefits of Proposed Procedure

Every procedure comes with risks. These risks can vary in frequency and severity. Before consenting to a specific procedure, it always important to have an understanding of both the risks and the benefits. The doctor should explain what could go wrong during the procedure and the effects that could follow, as well as the benefits, so that the patient can weigh the risks and benefits for themselves.

Alternatives and Risks and Benefits of the Alternatives

Very rarely is the proposed procedure the only available option. The doctor should always inform the patient on any alternative procedures or treatments before the patient agrees..

Risks and Benefits of Not Having Procedure

There is always an option to refuse treatment. The doctor is responsible for explaining the risks and benefits that are associated with the patient’s choice to refuse treatment.

Why It Matters

Informed consent is a doctor’s permission to perform a procedure, with knowledge that the patient understands exactly what is going to or may happen. If a procedure results in an error or an anticipated risk that wasn’t explained to the patient occurs, the patient could be entitled to compensation.

Were You Fully Informed?

If you underwent a surgery that resulted in an error and you feel you weren’t adequately informed, you may have a potential claim.