What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You

In surveys about which professions people trust the most, medical practitioners always come up near the top. Some people might trust their doctor so much, they would do whatever their doctor recommends. After all, the doctor is the expert, right? Who are you to argue?

Medical malpractice law, however, recognizes that patients who rely completely on their doctors could unknowingly take on risky procedures they might have refused if they had known exactly what they were getting into. That is the basis of the concept of informed consent — that is, your doctor has a legal responsibility to give you all the pertinent information you need to make an informed decision about your medical treatment before you consent to moving ahead. That includes not only the risks and benefits of a particular treatment, but also any alternative treatments that may be available to you, such as medications and other non-invasive methods. Unfortunately, medical malpractice attorneys in Manhattan often see cases where patients suffer injuries due to complications their doctor knew (or should have known) were a possibility, but never mentioned to the patient.

Informed consent lawsuits differ from most medical malpractice claims in at least one significant way. While most medical malpractice claims require plaintiffs to prove their injury was a result of the doctor’s failure to perform up to the standards of the medical profession, in an informed consent case the doctor may have done everything just right — except inform the patient that something could go wrong. Also, while expert testimony may be used in this type of case, most often the expert’s focus is not whether the doctor provided enough information, but whether more information would likely have changed the patient’s mind about proceeding with the treatment.

If you have suffered an unexpected injury because of a medical treatment, a Manhattan medical malpractice attorney can help you determine whether you have a case for lack of informed consent. Contact Rich & Rich, P.C. for a free consultation.

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